When More isn’t always More: DCIM in 3D vs. 2D

January 28, 2015 Nlyte Software


There is an adage that sometimes less and more, and there is the reality that sometimes more is more.  And then you have the case when you don’t realize what you have, or even what you need, until you see it. This confusing balance of desire versus need can be manifested in our visual nature as human beings. Think of going to the movies. We think we want to see a particular movie, action or otherwise in 3D, but the reality is the hassle of wearing 3D glasses combined with the very planar effect of seeing flat images float out in space makes 3D not always so compelling. It can tend to distract, and ultimately detract from the rest of the movie. (Quick: name any 3D movies that have received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture? Precisely.)

3D for Cabinet Collision checking


Now let’s relate this 3D/2D perceived preference into the fairly serious business of modeling your data center environment. Data center and IT teams want to know the available space, power and cooling for their physical infrastructure. When would 3D come in handy? A great scenario would be to visualize in-cabinet/in-rack potential collisions. Perhaps some connections. Would a fly-by in 3D be interesting? Sure it would. For about a minute. Now go and report on that. Or try using that 3D image for trending. Getting a little more difficult to wrap your head around specific, meaningful representations, right? Whereas a 2D report can show a highly detailed planar view, followed by a single click of a view of a rack elevation with even more specifics, allowing for precise selection of asset and asset data in-situ just a click away. So views in 2D can actually reveal more information than those in 3D.   For something like a time series graph or chart versus an animation of a 3D view of a room.  Sure that animation is useful to illustrate a point, but how would you show it the next week: could you perceive the difference from one week’s animation to the next? Wouldn’t a trendline crossing a threshold for capacity be more useful to predicting the eventual (lack of) capacity in your data center? Precisely.

2D Trendline conveys capabity over time very well

2D DCIM views

Now this all assumes that your 2D views are derived from meaningful, 3D information. In other words, simple Visio drawings that are uploaded won’t have this level of information – it just wouldn’t exist. But if your system has all the information modeled in 3D, it just allows you to select and display in2D matching our two-dimensional computer screens and report print outs. Take for instance installation diagrams for cabling up power and networks for a server. Would 3D help for examining planned collisions in the rack? Sure. But any good planning software would prevent that for you, as it would have that 3D information in its system: why would you want to always rely on the human factor?

Perhaps when we have Google-glass like virtual reality walk-throughs, and we want to see what items are doing as we walk by, well, that will also have a rather cool effect, but then again, you’d have to take the time to walk by. Wouldn’t it still be better to have a full view in 2D?




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