Data Center Infrastructure Management
The cloud may be here, but it's not omnipresent nor will it fit the needs of every company. There is still a need for traditional in-house data centers across many kinds of organizations. Even if your company does use the cloud, you might have a hybrid multi-site configuration or at least core infrastructure in your facility, which warrants close monitoring and inspection.
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) isn't a brand new topic; it has been around for years, and is steadily gaining momentum.
It's safe to say many IT professionals are familiar with traditional methods of infrastructural monitoring such as downtime alerts, server component and/or resource evaluation and network latency checks. There are many products on the market that can keep an eye on the health of your physical systems, software, and environment. DCIM is this, but it's also about understanding the compute, storage, and latency bottlenecks in the existing infrastructure, allowing for proactive alerts and optimization opportunities.
Traditional infrastructural monitoring has been largely about one piece of the puzzle, with many other pieces glaringly absent (or for which new technologies showed a need that these products couldn't fill). For instance, maybe you can tell your servers are up, but have no way of knowing how many servers you can fit in your space and still safely cool. DCIM fills in those gaps by introducing concepts such as:
- Compute and Storage capacity planning
- Consolidation of resources/locations
- Optimizing physical infrastructure (including space management) to enable higher capacity
- Multi-layered monitoring
- Future planning via modeling scenarios
- Asset tracking
- Change management
- Analysis of virtual/logical systems and how they interact with physical hardware
- Management of "utility" operations like electricity, heating and cooling from a usage, efficiency and cost savings perspectives
- Maximizing system utilization for best efficiency
There are plenty of existing software and/or products which handle some of these areas, of course, but the goal of DCIM is to unify them within one centralized point of administration so "the left hand knows what the right is doing" – and so do all the other pieces of the puzzle.