How do I get started?
Software for Data Center Infrastructure Management
One of the challenges Data Center Managers face when implementing a DCIM solution is controlling the costs and complexity of migrating their current processes to a DCIM. While a system covering all or even some of the aspects of a DCIM - Asset, Capacity, Change, Power, Environment, and Energy - might be the ultimate goal, it is not necessary to implement it all from day one to receive a positive ROI.
Implementing a DCIM solution in phases can be just as cost-effective, and in fact might yield a quicker ROI than waiting to start using DCIM once each solution set is ready. For instance just moving from spreadsheets to an automated asset management solution, with the ability to get visual/textual information on your space and assets from a centralized database, can save tens of thousands of dollars in record keeping and processes.
Below is a suggestion on how one might achieve ROI, while implementing DCIM in a phase by phase approach. The phases and order in which a DCIM is to be implemented should be based on first deploying what will provide the greater improvement or fix the most pressing problem, without a major rip and replace.
DCIM Capability Maturity Model
Meets the Challenge & Question
Gain insight into what I have: Floor Plan, Cabinet elevation, RU capacity
Asset management, Dashboards and Reporting Tools
Plan and Manage Power Chain, Power capacity, Network Trace, Fiber/Copper Capacity, Relationship Mapping
Capacity, Power and Network Connectivity Management
Improve processes - Best Practice Data Center management
Change/Workflow Management - Ticketing
Drive energy efficiencies, understand the cost and carbon footprint
Power and Energy Management, Environment Monitoring
Ensure components within the Data Center are up and running; alerted to issues/problems before they happen
Power and Environmental Monitoring
Leverage existing data, systems and processes
Integration through APIs, CMDB, 3rd Party Ticketing and other standard protocols (ODBC, SNMP, Modbus)
Keep in mind that the DCIM chosen should allow for additional improvements without undoing or redoing past fixes. Recognize that while implementing a single solution set is a great way to get started, you may eventually want to adopt further capability. Make sure to scrutinize the vendor you select to ensure there is flexibility in their DCIM architecture, as this is the vendor you will be working with for the long run.