Meeting the technology demands of modern data centers can be difficult and complicated, especially as the rate of digitalization increases. Herman Chan, President, Sunbird Software, discusses the benefits of second -generation DCIM and tells us why it helps data center managers meet their company sustainability goals.
What is second generation DCIM?
The second generation Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software, also known as DCIM G2, is the class of software that emerged from the legacy DCIM products to simplify data center management.
The next generation of DCIM solves the lack of functionality experienced with legacy DCIM tools. It provides the capabilities and features that data center managers want along with an elegant web-based user interface that is widely used.
What is driving the demand for second generation DCIM?
Modern data centers are constantly evolving and traditional management tools are no longer doing the job.
Smart rack PDUs and other smart devices with sensors are becoming ubiquitous. These devices collect huge amounts and different data that must be monitored and analyzed.
Data centers are now distributed in multiple locations such as colocation, Edge and retail, making a remote management tool a must have.
Organizations are integrating data centers and virtualizing servers to increase efficiency and they need a tool to enable them to do so intelligently.
Data center managers need tools that can integrate seamlessly with each other to drive automation that increases productivity and increases the accuracy of their data.
Finally, there is increased consumer education of the lackluster experience with the first generation of DCIM tools. When purchasing DCIM software, it is easier for data center professionals to see the difference.
Data center managers are now moving beyond traditional data center management tools. They look for solutions that meet the requirements of modern data center environments and take advantage of new technology to maintain working hours, drive efficiency and boost productivity. They need a second generation DCIM that is easy, fast and complete.
What are the pain points and pitfalls of first generation DCIM?
When Sunbird was formed, we talked to many customers of first generation DCIM tools to find out about their pain points. Interestingly, we keep hearing the same stories.
The tools are difficult to deploy or require additional clients. Critical features are missing, incomplete, or not working as expected. The features are modularised and require additional purchases. User interfaces are outdated and difficult to use. Performance is slow. They cannot be scaled to accommodate the number of devices in modern data centers. The support was horrible.
We listened to these points of pain and wanted to do something about them. Then the second generation DCIM was made.
What sets the second generation DCIM apart?
While legacy DCIM tools are sufficient for some of the most common day-to-day tasks faced by data center managers and operators today, the second generation DCIM improves on its first generation counterpart with enhanced version tracking and operational features in legacy DCIM tools as well as new functionality for modern data center environments.
The second generation DCIM deploys half the time of the first generation tools and requires fewer resources for a quick return on investment.
Very easy to use with an elegant, intuitive design that simplifies the most common tasks of the data center manager.
It provides zero-configuration analytics where pre-built dashboards, charts, reports and visual analytics for the data center’s most important KPIs are available out of the box. Shared dashboards and team views enable data-based collaboration and smarter decision making.
The second generation DCIM includes free APIs and connectors that simplify driving automation by integrating with other tools.
It offers intense scalability capable of handling millions of assets, billions of data points per day and thousands of users.
The other key pillar of the second generation DCIM is that it offers a full range of capabilities for complete data center management, it is vendor-agnostic and works with almost all third-party meters, sensors and software, and it uses AI and Machine Learning capabilities to assist in data center optimization.
What tools can be included in the second generation DCIM?
The second generation of DCIM features free APIs and customer-configurable connectors that allow integration with most other tools with appropriate APIs. This automation through integration eliminates duplicate input and reduces manual effort.
For example, integration with VMware helps data center managers easily identify and monitor server resources that support VMware virtual machines.
Integration with CMDBs such as ServiceNow, BMC Remedy, Ivanti/Cherwell and even homegrown systems is also popular. Customers can exchange asset information between their DCIM tool and virtually any application that exposes their REST APIs. In many cases, this integration can work within an hour.
An exciting new type of integration is in ticketing systems. If an organization already has a ticketing application such as Jira or ServiceNow that they use to track their changes and incidents in the data center, they can then automatically push those to their DCIM to begin the workflow process. Tickets can also be updated automatically from their DCIM. This brings automation such as automatic ticket closing when the job is finished.
Leading data center professionals also use DevOps tools like Jenkins and Chef to integrate their DCIM software into applications like Jira, Slack and Splunk. They automate everything from provisioning and orchestration to component management to back-office processing. The possibilities are endless.
How do you calculate the RoI of second generation DCIM?
The world’s most modern data center managers use second -generation DCIM to maintain working hours, increase capacity utilization efficiency and improve people’s productivity. There are many ways to measure the Return-on-Investment (RoI) they see.
With their first generation DCIM tool, Paddy Power Betfair has 5–10 users. After they moved to second-generation DCIM with more data reporting and democratization capabilities, colleagues outside the data center team wanted access to their system. Today, they claim 80–100 users, about a 900% increase. The data center team is much elevated in the organization.
Users of the second generation DCIM also report greatly improved accuracy of their assets and connectivity. To confirm the location of an asset, they no longer have to physically visit the data center, wait on slow and cumbersome first-generation DCIM, or rely on manuals and error-prone spreadsheets. The second generation DCIM allows a consistently accurate view of what is in the data center and where it is. With modern DCIM, Metronome spends 90% less time checking equipment and UF Health Shands has improved asset tracking efficiency by 50%.
Organizations also significantly reduce operational costs by identifying and utilizing stranded capacity. By leveraging their current resources, they can postpone the buildouts of new server-ready cabinets costing US $ 15-20,000 each. This is achieved by customers by using Auto Power Budget, a second-generation DCIM feature that automatically calculates an accurate power budget number for each build and model instance of a device based on the actual measured load. of that device in its environment that runs its applications. With this feature, Comcast gets 40% more usage from its current resources. EBay can deploy projects with 33% fewer cabinets, which saves it US $ 120,000 per project.
Finally, data center managers use second -generation DCIM to help meet their company sustainability goals. For example, Vodafone uses DCIM to accurately measure, monitor and document the environment and power telemetry at its data centers. It makes it wise to implement strategies such as raising the cold hallway temperature to save huge amounts of energy and money.
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