Data Center Infrastructure Management trends

Four Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) trends that either have or will impact the way we manage IT

1.  The criteria for asset management has expanded to virtual systems and cloud services.

Irrespective of the asset’s composition (i.e., physical or virtual) and its cost model (i.e., internal/corporate data center, hybrid or cloud), end-users expect the same visibility and management capabilities with regard to cost, capacity and control. Yet, the elasticity of cloud infrastructure necessitates different management considerations and technology capabilities. ABB’s DCIM system, Decathlon for Data Centers, enables bi-directional handling and control of the virtual software layers, which extends insight and automation to and from the cloud. Moreover, the insight customers need about the cloud is derived from cost vs. availability, latency, application, and other factors subject to the cost-performance of cloud service delivery. This extension of Decathlon for Data Centers to cloud services reinforces our platform strategy because we provide a seamless infrastructure management experience between and among corporate, colo and cloud environments. This evolution demonstrates Decathlon is an adaptable DCIM system.

2.  Automation is no longer a scary word.

When we first entered the data center market automation was, at best, a curiosity. Today some of our customers and prospects ask us how to bring industrial automation to their data centers, that is:  how to automate data exchange among applications, including non-native applications; how to automate component integration with all assets, including virtualized systems; and of course, how to automate both systems and human processes for autonomic operations so they can achieve the highest levels of performance. We believe end-users’ attitudes have evolved to begin accepting industrial automation as a necessary component to achieve stringent optimization targets. Ask us about the benefits of adopting an industrial automation strategy. We are helping our customers to literally and figuratively take control of their operations through industrial automation principles and methodologies.

3.  There is significantly more transparency in how data centers are managed.

Historically, data centers were the ‘dark pools’ of corporate IT. For example, data center operations had been ‘siloed’ among the various disciplines of the organization. Today, more customers are demanding actionable insight from their data center operations for various roles, even roles outside of data center operations. Our customers have been elated to achieve this. Providing a single data source comprised of a multitude of data types and output to accommodate various disciplines is not a trivial undertaking. It’s what Decathlon does better than any DCIM platform with respect to technology approach, data integrity and cost. Our expertise with the entire power chain enables customers to share that insight ‘across the aisle’ and deliver data center performance metrics (e.g., energy consumption, resource utilization and cost) that can be used as key performance indicators in other enterprise domains, such as Sales and Product Development.

4.  DCIM has evolved from a tool to a platform.

Although the definition of DCIM hasn’t changed much over the years, the model has changed significantly. Once considered a set of disparate tools, expectations of DCIM have evolved from tools to a platform. A true platform is necessary because integration capabilities are no longer considered optional. No single technology solution (nor vendor) is viable for data center evolution. Our philosophy is to enable customers to achieve their own data center strategy, not the vendor’s strategy. Decathlon for Data Centers has been designed as an open platform since its inception, enabling our team to have a deeper understanding of the integration challenges that we help overcome.

Learn more about ABB’s DCIM – Decathlon® for Data Centers

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About the author

Marina Thiry

I'm the Director of Strategic Marketing, Data Centers, for Process Automation Control Technologies (PACT) North America. I'm responsible for developing and implementing strategic marketing plans for the data center infrastructure management segment, as well as for Control Technologies systems, service, and partner sales. I'm also responsible for customer lead generation for ABB Decathlon, a data center infrastructure management system that provides the tools to manage a flexible network of power, cooling and IT systems.
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