How I Chose a DCIM Provider

I first heard of DCIM years ago, when organizations were still relying on Visio diagrams and Powerpoint spreadsheets for data center management. I had always believed in the dictum that a data center was the brain of an organization, which made the shift to DCIM, tougher. However, we were only starting out, and it could help us to cut on costs, with the kind of energy efficiency it offered. In fact, an article in CIO stated how DCIM could even help reduce the costs associated with the mismatch between demand and supply.

I researched on what DCIM was, and it turned out to be much more than that, with the kind of integration it offered with facility management. We decided it was high time we got ourselves a solution that offered efficient monitoring for energy management. Vendors that were merely interested in selling the product, without any actual investment in the success of my organization, were a strict no-no for me. Here is how I finally chose my DCIM provider.

Focusing on Needs Over Wants

When I started out looking for DCIM vendors, there were some that offered almost everything under the sun. Call it luck that I realized in time that it was very difficult for one vendor to specialize in all areas. It is essential to establish a list of immediate requirements right at the outset, and then go about shortlisting service providers. I was looking to improve efficiency, and hence I figured I would need a vendor that provided metrics like DceP and PUE.

If you want monitoring to reduce downtime, your DCIM suite should provide automated alerts on the basis of thresholds set by you. Filtering your needs starts with asking yourself certain questions. What information would you need to measure efficiency, availability, and compliance? Think about whether you would be able to forecast your critical resource capacity, and so on.

Prioritizing Scalability

Any business, regardless of its size, needs infrastructure to be scalable, since it has its own advantages. I needed scalability to perform even with less resources, especially in a rather competitive corporate landscape. Demands were growing, and technology challenges and financial constraints were not allowing us to evolve at a pace we would have liked to.
I was looking for scalability since it could help to capitalize whatever resources we had. That was where the hosted datacenter system came into the picture. We weren’t required to invest in an in-house server, network or processor. Unlike cloud systems, they are fully auditable and offer complete infrastructure control, according to Rowland Kinch, writing for Data Center Knowledge.

Discussing Working Processes and Goals with Vendors

The right vendors would actually be interested in your business, and would therefore know what solution would work. I discovered this quite early in my hunt, and made sure I was opening up to them about my expectations. To anyone looking for a vendor, I would strongly suggest sharing process framework information and issuing RFIs to invite demos from shortlisted responses.

However, the real deal is to make your chosen vendor prove it. A Proof-of-Concept or a trial can help visualize the feasibility of each proposal.

Getting a Custom Dashboard

I should admit I got a little greedy when I wanted a custom dashboard functionality. However, they can provide in-depth insights on KPIs, with visualizations of the current status and historical trends of the same. I wanted to have multiple widgets on my dashboard pane, including a PUE Trend Chart for fluctuations on my data center’s PUE, and a Latest PUE Reading Gauge.

Sunbird’s Power IQ Energy Management Solution came good to its efficient energy management promise, with ASHRAE cooling charts, Smart Rack Views, and just the kind of custom dashboard I wanted. I was thrilled. In fact, to this day, I am absolutely satisfied with the service I have been getting and the energy management at my business premises has never been a cause of concern after that.