03 October 2018

A 7-step approach to DCIM implementation

As the digital transformation continues to challenge executives every day, it fundamentally changes the way they operate their business. The data center is considered a business-critical enabler to that effect. The resulting changes, be it from a network, storage or security perspective, often leads to a bigger and more complex IT environment, despite the prospect of virtualisation. Keeping the tab on the ever-expanding list of assets, calls for advanced data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions.

A suitable DCIM suite allows you to monitor and measure energy consumption, while keeping track of capacity and performance of all IT and facility-related components. As starting with DCIM might seem daunting at first, we set out some guidelines to successfully implement DCIM in 7 steps.

1.      Build a solid business case

As with any other investment, a DCIM project starts with a business case. The starting point is an overview of the costs and complexity, linked to IT and facility aspects, while running the company’s data center.

2.      Create a road map and identify your goals

Which functionalities are most critical and what controls should the DCIM suite offer to integrate with over time? A DCIM project typically starts with the inventory of assets, to tackle capacity planning and focus on monitoring and alerting in subsequent phases. The trick is to select and prioritize. Work towards your goals, step-by-step. To do so, define ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’ while setting up a road map, to go from the current situation to the next-level data center the company is aiming for.

3.      Prepare the migration of your data

Make sure to get the correct data from the existing data sources and normalize it. Look for a solution that includes a bulk data manager, which pinpoints data sources and maps them to destination sources. This way users can extract data from spreadsheets and other static sources, to migrate them accurately and efficiently.

4.      Import your data

Effectively importing the data into the DCIM tool – performing the actual data migration – is the next critical step.

5.      Determine workflows

A workflow determines who administers the data center and when, where and how changes are to be handled. As data centers become more complex and distributed, formalized roles and responsibilities help keep their management under control. Be aware that setting up these workflows may call for organizational changes in the company. As processes and procedures will change, so will the roles of some of your co-workers.

6.      Create visibility

Having invested in the implementation of DCIM through prior critical steps, it is time to reap the benefits and create visibility towards peers and management alike. Standard reports and dashboards are a key part of a DCIM solution, capturing and centralizing the information and rendering it in an easy-to-read format.

7.      Integrate with other systems

Integrating different applications can be a daunting task that should not be taken lightly. It is a critical step nonetheless, which should form an integral part of the DCIM road map. Linking different enterprise systems must have a clear added value, be cost-effective, highly functional and manageable.

When implemented properly, DCIM is more than just a data center management tool. Performing at its full potential, DCIM plays a strategic role. It enables the instant allocation of resources when and where they are needed, offering flexibility that strengthens the company’s competitive advantage. To make the most of your investment in DCIM, you need a partner that will not just sell the solution, but also offers the services to guide you through these 7 steps so you can unlock the full potential of DCIM.

Andy Vanbrabant
Andy Vanbrabant

Andy Vanbrabant is Director of the Cabling & Infrastrcture division at Simac ICT Belgium.

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A 7-step approach to DCIM implementation

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