The internet used to be something we associated with computers and mobile phones. But those devices now represent just a portion of those capable of connecting to the internet. there’s an entire Internet of Things (IoT) now made up of everything from sensors on a manufacturing line to commercial-grade security systems and smart utility meters.
As this network of IoT-enabled devices expands, so does the quantity of data enterprises can collect to gauge performance. Think about how many sensors today can send real-time data to a central hub for analysis, whether we’re talking about machines on a manufacturing line, commercial-grade security tools, or smart utility meters in business environments.
Harnessing this data can help companies troubleshoot operational issues quickly and drive efficiency through better decision-making. But organizations must have the infrastructure in place to gather and analyze what the data reveals about how things are running — and, on top of that, the tools to effectively manage these IT data centers. Otherwise valuable data insights related to performance end up slipping through the cracks.
This is where Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) comes in. Here’s an example from Kevin Brown, the Chief Technology Officer at Schneider Electric: DCIM can help operators track performance in terms of “uptime, availability and energy consumption.”
There are a few different kinds of DCIM available to enterprises today: on-premise, cloud-based, and hybrid. Here’s more about the ins and outs of each approach.
On-premise DCIM involves sending information from IoT-connected sensors to a centralized dashboard. Then IT specialists can receive these notices and troubleshoot any problems that occur. As Network Computing writes, the data captured by sensors lets system administrators know about conditions like airflow, power consumption, temperature, humidity, security and availability.
If a malfunction crops up, these IT technicians can act as quickly as possible upon receiving the notification. This can minimize the duration of downtime that occurs, reducing operational expenses.
Cloud-based DCIM builds upon on-premise DCIM, boosting visibility regardless of the geographical locations of IT specialists. Another major innovation brought to the enterprise by cloud-based DCIM is the ability to source insights from a data lake regardless of the exact machines and sensors sending the data there. In other words, the cloud is capable of being vendor-agnostic, able to wrangle data from a variety of sources regardless of the vendor and turn that data into actionable insights IT teams can act on ASAP.
Another reason cloud-based DCIM is making a splash is because it’s less clunky to deploy than traditional on-premise solutions. It’s really as simple these days as downloading the right software and deploying it from a smartphone app. The scalable nature makes cloud-based DCIM more accessible for companies dipping their toes into data management because there’s less of an up-front investment required.
Hybrid DCIM: A Compromise?
Unsurprisingly, many businesses today are opting to try a hybrid approach. Why? Certain applications are simple to outsource to outsource to the cloud; others remain stubbornly on-premise. Opting for “the best of both worlds” helps businesses avoid having to put all their eggs in one basket. Companies stand to gain the accommodating bandwidth of on-premise solutions plus the flexibility of cloud-based ones.
Some enterprises harnessing DCIM are logging more than one billion data points every day — data points they’re then able to use to monitor their IT systems, proactively prevent or troubleshoot failures and make data-driven decisions to advance their business operations. This just goes to show how important it is to get DCIM right if you hope to stay competitive in our increasingly data-driven world.
Many businesses find a hybrid solution gives them what they need without requiring too much of an overhaul, although cloud-based DCIM is advancing rapidly and on-premise DCIM is certainly better than forging ahead without a plan.