What to consider when choosing a DCIM solution?

Shot of Data Center With Multiple Rows
Cristina De Luca -

March 31, 2023

In an interconnected world where organizations use a combination of enterprise and cloud-based services, remote management of assets and space has become increasingly important. This process begins by focusing on the datacenter (rack) enclosure, seeking to understand how the subsystems within it form an ecosystem to support Information and Communications Technology (ICT) equipment.

Current computing and networking trends are expected to result in more equipment being colocated or placed in remote locations. Optimizing remote and higher density locations requires a new approach to space adaptation and monitoring.

Managing the airflow in each cabinet and separating the hot and cold air within the blank is the critical first step to achieving significant energy savings from cooling systems. Monitoring at the cabinet/rack and device level is critical to ensure uptime and optimize higher density locations. Taking more granular measurements results in better insights into underutilized and overutilized equipment and informs decisions that maximize the use of available capacity.

An effective cabinet ecosystem will provide a simplified path to space management, allowing you to consistently manage, monitor, secure, optimize, support, control, organize and simplify your operations.

Modern datacenters therefore rely on data centre infrastructure monitoring (DCIM). Simple, yet robust DCIM software that helps you view trends of all activity in the room and cabinet on a single screen offers the concept of simplified space management.

When purchasing DCIM software, focus on simplicity, utility and easy deployment. In choosing the most appropriate solution, David Knapp and Ashish Moondra, managers at Chatsworth, recommend considering the following:

  • Trend data graph: by easily visualising trends and occurrences, you can quickly identify problem areas and optimise site capacity, usage and security.

  • Energy capacity trend and analysis: the energy capacity trend over time can help you predict energy consumption more accurately.

  • Power load report generation: keep a close track of energy consumption expenses with a DCIM that unifies data from multiple devices into one simple report.

  • Failover testing: Look for a solution that allows you to test the failover capability of the data center without having to power down the power chain. And that proactively provides information to confirm whether or not failover capability in any given cabinet is being compromised.

  • Active power by month and device: This feature helps data center managers quickly identify spikes, avoid potential power issues and maximize uptime. Leverage this feature with socket-level power monitoring to identify power consumption by server, which helps identify underutilized and overutilized servers for possible replacement with more efficient devices or virtual servers.

  • Searchable, easily integrated database: DCIM software provides an excellent preconfigured dashboard and reporting tools, but access to the data DCIM collects and stores is also important for creating more advanced reports for other system integrations. Additional information is possible by combining facility data with data from the network and servers or from other asset management tools.

  • Expandable with advanced features: Your basic DCIM software should provide power monitoring and management, environmental monitoring, and access control by capturing data at the cabinet level. It should automate metering, capture and store data, monitor and trigger alarms, trend power and environmental conditions, simplify administration of user access rights and log each access attempt. It must also be able to expand to provide more robust asset management, power chain and connectivity mapping and workflow and change management.