In a recent article published over on Processor.com and entitled “DCIM done Right” I was thrilled to see both Gartner and Forrester chiming in on the fascinating world of DCIM and providing some insight into how end-user could start planning for their own implementations, along with a healthy dose of expectation setting. Both David Cappuccio of Gartner and Richard Fichera of Forrester have been sheepherding the DCIM segment for years and in this article have shared their opinions on the value of DCIM today, some specific things to consider and where end-users might start their journey.
A quick summary of their collective points with some context as covered in the publication:
- Determine your goals. Ask everyone that could be connected with DCIM now and in the future and capture each of their set of needs. This will identify WHY you are buying DCIM, and will be critically important when conducting your evaluation process.
- Inventorying your assets is essential. The DCIM model must be started somehow and there are various means available to do so ranging from automated to manual. Although this may appear daunting at first, it is actually very straightforward and the place to start each deployment. Technologies that will likely be leveraged will include Barcode, electronic import, CMDBs, etc.
- A well implemented DCIM system becomes the system of record, the source of truth, and usually more respected than older G/L based asset management since it includes more physical detail. Treat this seriously and get it right since DCIM will be the cornerstone of your structure going forward.
- Optimizing Power and Cooling can be thought of as low-hanging DCIM fruit and may yield 20% in savings due to energy and thermal management efforts alone… but that is just the beginning of the value of DCIM as there is a whole slew of non-trivial IT-process oriented savings.
- Space management is one of the major opportunities with DCIM. Optimal placement of devices is a key value, as well as understanding your consumption of space (the square feet) as a trend is a critical capacity planning benefit of DCIM (Bonus: See Cappuccio’s report Doc ID #235289 for a discussion about DCSE, his proposed Data Center Space Efficiency metric)
- No DCIM offering will do everything. Regardless of what you hear, you will need to fill in the gaps for every offering by adding other solutions to your plan. Consider vendors that have demonstrated their willingness to work with other players in the DCIM space.
- DCIM is much more valuable when it is connected to ITSM systems (like change management and CMDBs). A key observation when deploying DCIM is that many times the existing processes are flawed, so modeling and executing them in a new DCIM suite will just propagate the inefficiency. DCIM initiatives therefore become the catalyst to re-think your best practices to assure they are modern and fit the CURRENT business’ needs.
- DCIM implementations will require startup services and you should discuss these requirements up front with your selected vendor to properly set everyone’s expectations. Services should be about deployment, not about new features that are missing.
- Start with just the set of new capabilities that you and your team can handle. Major DCIM offerings can be built up in capability over time. Purchase what you need from a reputable vendor that is committed to progress their solution and has demonstrated this maturation in the past.
- Train your people. Get them comfortable with each new component to the point that these new capabilities become part of their daily routines. Then add analytics and reporting deliverables that are valuable to each of them uniquely.
These are basic rules of thumb and set some very pragmatic expectations. I applaud Dave and Richard’s comments and common sense. The year 2014 has already proven to be the year many forward-looking major organizations began their DCIM journey….