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Issue 17, August/September

Arar said the bank began exploring DCIM, in this case rolling out the Avocent product, because the building the bank occupied was not built for a data center. “We had lots of management problems. Access and compliance issues relating to how the data center was being managed,” Arar says.

“We looked at several aspects of data center management. We put our requirements into a request for proposal (RFP) and issued it to six vendors. We chose Avocent.

“We are currently up and running. It is providing some visibility on cooling and power distribution. It also provides some remote control for a data center that is 160km away. The program ran very smoothly and we’re happy.’

The project took about six months from RFP to deployment and Arar says the bank saw benefits immediately. “We used it to provide dynamic management of the layout and the utilization of power (the data center shares the

same power grid as the rest of the building) and cooling and the servers,” he says.

NBAD is now looking to Trellis to deliver active management. “We are looking forward to the new Trellis functionality as what we’re looking for now is active management, rather than static management.”

As for its new data center project, Arar says he has yet to put Avocent or other modules to use. “We are currently still at the build concept for the new data center. But as soon as the design is set and regulatory approval for the building design [is received] we will use DCIM for the data center design itself,” he says. The plan is to be in the new data center within 18 months.


Emerson Network Power undertook a survey of 240 US DC professionals, asking them why firms didn’t use the tools already available. It found three factors that stopped firms from optimizing their data center performance. Lack of visibility into system utilization, absence of

documented efficiency strategies and lack of functionality within management systems.

Respondents identified an array of management tools they were using. The most common were facility monitoring (65%), equipment tracking (54%) and cooling management (53%).

On the other end of the spectrum, tracking virtual machines and their dependencies on underlying hardware (28%) and IT capacity management (27%) were among the least used management tools. Less than a quarter (24%) of respondents had achieved any integration between virtual and physical management platforms.

When asked whether DCIM was administrative or transformational,


says “both”. With Trellis, Emerson Network Power is banking on this fact, and its findings that few companies have even attempted any kind of integration between the facilities and IT layer. n


1. What are the critical infrastructure assets in my data center and what are their respective mission interdependencies?

An inventory repository can provide the data center manager with a ‘reality check’ of today’s high-value assets, as well context for the data center plan for the future. This insight provides a continual business- oriented view into critical assets, allowing better return-on-investment (ROI) on assets as well as freeing up data center budget for other compelling priorities — a top-of-mind concern for managers.

2. If asked by my management, could I quickly retrieve a comprehensive monitoring and analysis

report of all the assets in my data center and would this identify bottlenecks?

An effective DCIM solution should monitor all space, power and cooling attributes within the data center environment. To avoid an environmental-based operational failure, the DCIM solution should provide reports that enable the manager to take proactive action. The ability to report these conditions should be available on-demand.

3. Can my data center manage day-to-day workloads with flexibility while servicing on-demand needs as they arrive for my company?

The DCIM solution should provide process workflow that can perform:

• Scenario development — the ability to model changes before they go into production;

• Nested processes that list steps that must be completed before an action is approved;

• Measurement against service level agreements (SLAs), which are standard or custom metrics for measuring success; and

5. What intuitive web-based executive summary and planning tools are provided in the solution?

DCIM solutions should provide configurable web-based dashboards and analytics standard within the product. Automating the operational intelligence gathering and reporting through a comprehensive web- based dashboard enables an executive summary that becomes the single source of truth into DCIM and planning.

6. Will the DCIM solution align with IT and business services?

Aligning IT service to address business objectives and needs is paramount. Any DCIM solution must enable data center management to align respective resource consumption with current ITSM, ITIL and BSM strategies.

• The ability to provision into underutilized space, power and cooling capacity. This function should recommend optimal placement for devices based on their unique requirements and the existing load capacity in the infrastructure.


Avocent’s Steve Hassell says: “A holistic DCIM strategy is a data center manager’s best partner in meeting the stringent business demands in a modern-day data center environment. To successfully implement a DCIM strategy, data center managers must be on the lookout for the best family of hardware, software and services that allow them to address the critical infrastructure gap.”

4. Does this DCIM solution provide the trend analysis and intelligence needed for my team to deliver a comprehensive capacity management plan?

To gain control of the current and future usage of data center resources, DCIM solutions should provide managers with insight into:

• Projection pipelines — what projects are in various stages of approval and what the impact will be on the infrastructure; and

• Trending for current and projected utilization (curves based on historical usage).

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