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SØREN BROGAARD JENSEN is the vice president of Enterprise Management and Software, the group behind Schneider Electric StruxureWare for Data Centers DCIM Suite which enables data center operators to manage the entire life cycle of the data center from planning, design through operations to decommissioning. S ren leads a team of world-class developers, engineers, business managers, and industry experts each focused on bringing an innovative and customer-oriented solution to market.
Q. What does the data center infrastructure management (DCIM) category consist of?
A. The industry analyst 451 Research defines DCIM as “a system that collects and manages information about a data center’s assets, resource use, and operational status. This information is then distributed, integrated, analyzed, and applied in ways that help managers meet business and service-oriented goals and optimize the data center’s performance.” Some argue that monitoring should be separate as it functions as the base-layer of DCIM in the 451 Group’s Data Center Maturity Model, and that the real power of DCIM really starts at Level 3 — the proactive level which provides actionable data for decision-making. A DCIM system should connect IT with the facility to help ensure that the right information about the data center is available to the right people at the right time.
A. Yes, is it possible to build your own DCIM. Before the emergence of DCIM as a category, data center operators used a mix of software applications to help them in their work. These ranged from applications like MS Excel® for asset management, to UPS software and BMS. But with today’s DCIM solutions you get speed and insights into your data center operations that DIY (do-it-yourself) solutions generally don’t provide. But, of course, where companies have in-house expertise, programming language makes it possible to do it yourself and we’ve seen companies do just that. Modern software development is greatly facilitated by the use of plain English, and by modular blocks of code which can be sourced from other programs. However, home made solutions can become complex and difficult to manage over time.
Q. What are the long term implications of DIY DCIM solutions?
A. It pays to look ahead maybe a couple of years and consider the task of updating and documenting applications to improve the software and to meet changes outside your control, e.g., upgrades to software and devices with which the DCIM is integrated. Additionally, the way that software scales is complex. Many companies have difficulty enough trying to deal with the unpredictable nature of IT demand, without the problem of keeping management software up to date. It’s a question of sticking to the knitting – data center professionals are increasingly finding that off-the-shelf DCIM provides even more value than they could have imagined, especially now that suppliers offer targeted DCIM modules for different segments.