Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) refers to the processes, guidelines, tools, and methodologies used for the provisioning, governance, and overall management of data center assets and infrastructures. It provides a comprehensive approach to operating and maintaining an enterprise-class data center and encompasses IT resources like hardware, software, networks, and facilities, including power, cooling, lighting and overall physical infrastructure.
Functions of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)
DCIM bridges information across organizational silos, including Data Center Operations, Facilities, and IT teams to maximize utilization of the entire data center white space. An organization needs ITSM and BMS, but DCIM is the solution that completes the toolkit to have the visibility and information you need to properly plan and deploy equipment for data center projects to support business/IT services. Simply put, data center management is not complete without a DCIM tool.
- Manages physical data center infrastructure assets, relationships, and capacity:
- Locations of racks, servers, network, storage, and blades
- Utilization and capacity of resources to support equipment, e.g. power, space, and cooling
- Physical relationships and connectivity between equipment, down to the port level
- Monitors, trends, and alarms on equipment and resources supporting mission-critical facility
- Automates visual documentation (e.g. rack elevations) by providing full 3D specifications of assets with high-fidelity front and back images, exact U position, and dimensional, weight, and data and power port information
- Tracks workflow within the data center for physical asset moves, adds, and changes of server/network equipment
- Tracks and monitors environmental conditions, energy efficiency, availability, and use of key resources (space, power, cooling, and network/power connections)
How DCIM Tools Work in Action
Data center infrastructure management strategies vary widely and are directly tied to the data center in question. Considering all the variables at play such as the size of the data center, the equipment being used, the age of the equipment, and the requirements of the business, it is impractical to make generalizations that apply to all data centers. Looking at the following hypothetical examples can better illustrate how the process works:
- If a company wants to create records of all their datacenter IT assets, including both the technical aspects (programs being run) and financial aspects (serial numbers), it should use strategies to analyze how the overall assets affect and relate to one another, and whether this benefits or obstructs business goals.
- Another strategy involves using real-time monitoring and predictive analysis to allow data center technicians to spot problems before they occur, and then shift resources proactively in order to avoid interruptions. This approach also empowers technicians to increase resource utilization and maximize efficiency.
- Environmental controls are crucial for the health of servers. DCIM tools can be used to integrate data regarding server performance and environmental conditions to create reports and models that reveal the health of the entire infrastructure and each of the constituent pieces. This allows technicians to head off potentially catastrophic failures and make minor tweaks to improve overall performance.