About Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)

Wikipedia defines Data Center Infrastructure Managementor (DCIM) as “the marriage of information technology and data center facility management disciplines”.

We define it as a simplification of your life in and out of your datacenter.  DCIM is a system management platform that addresses the management and monitoring of your physical assets in the datacenter. It takes a disciplined approach to managing the Physical Layer of IT with the goal of improving the quality of data provided to management, reducing the time required to provide this information and most importantly keeping your budget in the black.

CIOs know the importance of this burgeoning technology.  Keeping service levels high while staying within budget is a daily challenge. DCIM helps to efectively manage that task by providing relevant and timely data to aid in making the decisions that move the IT side of your business forward.

If you are just beginning your research we recommend looking at a number of white papers that Gartner, the 451 group , Forrester and IDC have written on the product category.

Consider these points of an easier DCIM project implementaion:

  1. Do your research to understand what DCIM is about at the highest level. Think big picture. Talk to your peers who have implemented DCIM.
  2. Find a sponsor. You will need upper management buy-in.
  3. Include all stakeholders early on in the process. IT, Facilities, Finance and any other department that will be impacted by this project. Neglecting this step can sabotage the project from the start.
  4. Set realistic expectations. Set appropriate goals based on your current needs, resources and time frames and your current DCIM maturity model.
  5. Review and document your current process. Write down how DCIM can help you improve your current system. Bring other stakeholders into this process.
  6. Determine what capacities you need your new DCIM solution to have. What are your companies’ requirements? Include other stakeholders in this process as well. This can be adjusted as you go through the research process but it is important to clearly understand the key attributes you will require from a new DCIM solution.
  7. Talk to each stakeholder about their needs of the System.  What reports do they require, what do they need to see daily, hourly? Converting collected data into usable information can be a challenge so manage expectations up front.
  8. Select which DCIM vendors you are interested in. Include as many as you feel is reasonable at this stage. Don’t skip over a key DCIM Vendor unless you are clear they do not meet your requirements.
  9. Arrange for an online demonstration from a short list of DCIM vendors you have identified as contenders. Be specific in asking to see a live version of the functionality you want to see in the solution. Develop a standard method or checklist to score and evaluate each of the offerings. Include a company’s reputation and longevity in your analysis as you will be devoting a significant amount of money and internal resources to the solution. Also consider:  strong Integration team, ongoing technical support and training and include product Road Map plans and size of R & D budget to add future functionality.
  10. Any project has hidden costs, make sure to plan and budget for professional services, integration and training.
  11. Once you choose your DCIM Vendor, remember to reserve adequate internal resources to assist with the implementation and integration.