Next-gen DCIM vital for resilient edge infrastructure

The tool is highly scalable in that it can handle an unlimited number of monitored devices across any number of sites.

Johannesburg, 17 Mar 2020
Read time 3min 10sec
Jonathan Duncan, Secure Power VP for Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric.
Jonathan Duncan, Secure Power VP for Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric.

As the demand for data storage and edge computing grows, reliable and efficient computing and storage sites become increasingly important. However, the management of these sites presents a challenge as these smaller, local edge computing sites, which are typically one to four IT racks in size, are often geographically dispersed, multiple in number, and lacking in IT staff. This creates infrastructure management and maintenance challenges that make it difficult to maintain availability of the IT in an efficient manner.

Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software is the clear solution here. 

“DCIM should be seriously considered by any organisation wanting to ensure they have reliable and efficient edge computing capabilities,” comments Jonathan Duncan, Secure Power VP for Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric. “An integrated micro data centre solution can help maintain IT resilience at the edge, providing insight into the essential elements of your site.”

While most organisations should already have an operations and maintenance (O&M) strategy, DCIM software can be fully integrated into the existing approach. 

“Third-party platform integration means that adoption is made easy. Next-generation DCIM typically installs as a simple gateway app on an existing server (physical or virtual). This avoids the often-lengthy security and validation reviews that can take weeks or months,” says Duncan. 

Since each site would require a DCIM server, the time savings can be significant when there are dozens or hundreds of small remote sites. This also makes the tool highly scalable in that it can handle an unlimited number of monitored devices across any number of sites.

When it comes to implementing DCIM, Duncan highlights the importance of ensuring that all stakeholders are on board.

 “Like any enterprise-grade software suite, successful DCIM implementations require organisational buy-in and ongoing co-operation and participation among key stakeholders. While DCIM ultimately aims to simplify and, to some degree, automate management of data centre infrastructure, the users of the system must do their part to ensure that the value of the software is realised,” says Duncan.

For example, the O&M of the software system must be built into the organisation’s O&M program. The facility O&M program’s change management processes must be adapted to account for the DCIM system. This takes commitment and continuous effort by management and operations teams. 

Says Duncan: “Failing to have the right level of buy-in could mean a failure in DCIM implementation; however, with a next-generation DCIM system rather than a legacy system, implementation is far less burdensome and offers smoother adoption.”

New DCIM software also means that regardless of who is using the system, notifications and alarms are clear. Instead of providing raw data about the IT environment and supporting infrastructure, modern tools draw conclusions to either provide a root cause for the problem or to make clear which alarms or devices are most critical and require attention.

“While the software is designed to be user-friendly, organisations must ensure they are dedicated to regularly monitoring the system once implemented. Alternatively, they can enjoy the benefits of digital services offered by next-generation DCIM,” says Duncan. 

DCIM software, such as that offered by Schneider Electric, provides a platform that makes it easier for third parties to manage and monitor for you or with you.

“Enabling full use of the DCIM system by third parties mitigates the key edge computing challenge of having unmanned sites. Your service providers and DCIM vendor can, in effect, become your virtual staff,” concludes Duncan. 

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