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Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is about more than just managing environmental data of the assets inside the live data center space. DCIM needs to include all aspects of the equipment in the data center, extending to the entire life-cycle of the asset, from purchase to end of life.


In fact, it is suggest that DCIM is actually a pretty poor term for what should really be ITIM (Information Technology Infrastructure Management), as it’s really about managing in terms of the IT, not the data center.

Data center managers face more challenges today than ever before, from increasing demand for IT applications and equipment, pressure to avoid downtime, as well as demand from upper management for better operational efficiency. With the majority of companies still using spreadsheets to manage their data centers, it’s no surprise that IT leaders grossly underestimate the impact a poorly managed data center has on the bottom line.


Imagine your staff is ordering equipment for your data center and it’s going right to the store room, not just without being deployed, but also without being inventoried. Then it sits there, depreciating in value and collecting dust. This is very true for many organizations. If you researched it like we have, ultimately organizations discover that in as little as six weeks they can and have accumulated more than $700,000 in depreciation costs for assets that were not being used.


This is where managing the complete life-cycle of assets is realized. IT managers need to be thinking about planning where each new asset will be used from the moment it has been ordered and well before it has arrived.


They need to be able to look at the data center and see in real-time, historical and future data related to all aspects of management including: power, space, environmental factors, location, connectivity and ownership. Then they can plan and allocate space for the new asset and ensure it is deployed and correctly verified as ready to enter an operational state as soon as possible.


The data center manager needs to document this process so that when a problem occurs they can use the same information to troubleshoot the issue and resolve it as quickly as possible. Even virtualization is involved here. As severs are virtualized, the same data is needed to decommission the right servers at the right time.


One of the most common, and costly, issues facing IT managers is data center downtime. Studies show that it costs companies more than $5,000 per minute, with the average incident lasting 90 minutes, resulting in an average cost per incident of approximately $505,0001. But all of this can be minimized if the IT infrastructure is properly managed.


The key thing to remember is managing and documenting are two different entities.




is gathering the data, and if the vehicle for this documentation is spreadsheets that is often where the process stops (if it happened at all). It's a fact that even with great spreadsheet records, every time there is a change planned to the data center, a comparison of the real infrastructure and the infrastructure records is made just to be “sure", This hardly management!




is when you can look at the data center from a holistic point of view and say things like, “Let’s look at what has been deployed recently, what capacity is available, what planned deployments are coming up and what are the capacity constraints?”


Case in point


A company with a small data center of about 80 racks had a conversation with the head of Cormant, Inc, Paul Goodison and it's partners. They were keeping records in an MS Access database and were convinced the records were accurate. They were more diligent than most, running monthly checks to ensure the data was correct. However, the checks were being done based on paper printouts of the data, which in theory was updated into the Access database from hand written updates made to the records. When a proper full audit was performed the team found 63 servers and switches that were not recorded anywhere, further illustrating that home-grown or spreadsheet management is not suitable for enterprise level infrastructure management, nor can maximum efficiency be achieved with it.


From the C-level executive down to the IT manager, data center efficiency is a hot topic at the center of everyone's mind these days. Largely because energy, people and space efficiency are business focal points for improvement. Hot spots if your will. Let's face it money is on everyones minds these days.



A Manifesto for Efficient IT Infrastructure Management.

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