Real-time DCIM with IBX SmartView APIs: 3 things you need to know

Divesh Kumar
Real-time DCIM with IBX SmartView APIs: 3 things you need to know

Imagine having a miniature army of seasoned technicians watching over your data center infrastructure. These technicians are so experienced that they know when a piece of equipment is going to fault just by how it smells or sounds and can speed-dial you before an outage occurs. And, they never get tired or hungry, so they’re monitoring your equipment 24x7x365. Because they are so knowledgeable, they can also answer common infrastructure management questions such as:

  1. Where is my data center asset located?
  2. How can I plan for sufficient space, power, cooling and connectivity to address my needs for the next few months? The next five years?
  3. Do I have under or over utilized resources?
  4. An event happened – what happened, what services and equipment is impacted, where should the technicians go to resolve the issue?
  5. How can I stay on top of events impacting our system availability?
  6. How can I analyse the effect of changes on our operating environment?

While this may seem like an unrealistic ideal, it is the premise behind data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software, which is designed to provide information about data center assets, resource use and operational status. A recent data center report by Uptime Institute notes that DCIM is often described as “one of the most powerful and productive technologies that can be applied in the modern data center.” Bearing this out, the report also states that 62% of the survey respondents who had implemented DCIM realized significant benefits from it within the first full year.i

Secure on-demand DCIM with IBX SmartViewTM APIs

Equinix IBX SmartView is a DCIM solution that unifies building management system (BMS), control systems, infrastructure assets and sensor data from Equinix International Business ExchangeTM (IBX®) locations worldwide, providing real-time and trended environmental and infrastructure operating status information. The application and all the data relevant to a customer’s colocation deployment is available immediately after the product is ordered.

IBX SmartView is a standalone, single-pane-of-glass application accessible as independent portal application and also through the Equinix Customer Portal. Customers can also obtain real-time environmental and operating information about their colocation footprint at Equinix IBX locations through IBX SmartView APIs

Here are three things you need to know about IBX SmartView APIs:

1. REST vs near real-time APIs

IBX SmartView APIs are available in two categories: RESTful and streaming near-real time and they are accessible via the Equinix Developer Platform. IBX SmartView APIs provide customers complete visibility into IBX infrastructure (mechanical and electrical) assets, environmental assets and power utilization alarm and alert information, enabling them to build real-time dashboards and integrate real-time feeds with their automation systems.

RESTful APIs – REST APIs are responsible for providing metadata about the colocation assets that a customer owns at an Equinix IBX location, as well as Equinix owned assets (including asset information and associated attributes called tag points) that are serving a customer’s colocation footprint. Besides meta-data, REST APIs also provide historical data about one or more asset tag point(s), alerts, and customer visible alarms.

Streaming near real-time APIs – Near real-time APIs provide the capability to stream the asset attributes, power usage information, as they are collected at different IBX locations onto different asynchronous communication channels. They can also stream customer visible alarm and alerts data as they are generated by IBX SmartView.

Currently IBX SmartView supports the following asynchronous channels to deliver near real time feeds to customers:

  • Google’s Pub-Sub (on the Google Cloud Platform)
  • Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (on Amazon Web Services)

Asynchronous channels for private Kafka and Azure Service Bus (on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Platform) are in the works and will be available later this year.

Using near real-time streaming APIs customers can build automation workflow use cases, embed alerts/alarms to their existing operational dashboards or build visually rich real-time dashboards. Detailed uses cases are listed in the section below.

2. Data available to APIs

IBX SmartView facilitates real-time and trended visibility of operating data for assets across the following categories:

  • Environmental: Visibility into temperature and humidity data at IBX and cooling zone levels. If a customer has purchased environmental sensors, then this information will also be available at the cage and cabinet level.
  • Power draw: The power draw information is available for each AC power circuit owned by the customer and at higher levels of aggregation, such as the IBX, cage and cabinet.
  • Mechanical: Information for assets like air handling, cooling, smoke and fire detection, and leak detection.
  • Electrical: Information for assets like generators, power distribution units (PDU), uninterruptible power supply (UPS), etc.

Besides providing data for the above-mentioned assets, IBX SmartView APIs also provide information about the customer’s colocation footprint at an IBX location, customer visible alarms and user defined alerts.

3. API use cases

A quick exploration of typical IBX SmartView scenarios and how they could be implemented via APIs helps put it all together.

Use Case 1: Near real-time integrated monitoring scenario ꟷ A multinational enterprise customer has deployments with Equinix across multiple geographies, in addition to its on-premises data centers. It uses an in-house custom application to monitor its on-premises data centers and wants to integrate its Equinix footprint into the same application to get a single pane of glass view.

The customer can achieve this use case by leveraging IBX SmartView APIs as shown in the diagrams below. First, it needs to setup the asset information in its application via IBX SmartView REST APIs.The IBX SmartView Hierarchy REST API provides information about the customer’s colocation footprint across various Equinix locations, while the IBX SmartView Assets REST API provides visibility to Equinix electrical, mechanical and environmental assets powering/servicing its colocation footprint.

Once the asset information is set up in the in-house application, the customer can leverage IBX SmartView streaming near real-time APIs to get data for all the Equinix assets serving its colocation footprint over Google Pub/Sub or Amazon SNS asynchronous channels. The customer can plug this information into its visualization and monitoring workflows, as well as provide near real-time (customer visible) alarm and alert information to its operations team.

Use Case 2: Power utilization scenario – When it comes to data center operations, power utilization is a key metric that needs to be monitored and managed closely. Customers need to know whether their cages, cabinets or power circuits are at risk of overdrawing the allocated power draw limits, and how much capacity they have remaining to turn up new gear or onboard more users onto their applications. With IBX SmartView’s power monitoring feature, customers can easily understand power draw profiles and historic trends from the IBX data center level all the way down to the AC power circuit level.

Similar to use case 1, customers can achieve this use case by leveraging both types of IBX SmartView APIs. The IBX SmartView Hierarchy REST API provides information about their colocation footprint down to the AC circuit level. Through the IBX SmartView Power REST API, they can gain visibility into historical power data consumption, at various levels of granularity, such as the IBX, cage, cabinet and AC circuit. This enables customers to use the data for trending display and/or custom analytics in their in-house monitoring application.

Once the power asset information is set up in their application, they can then leverage IBX SmartView streaming near real-time APIs to get power usage data for all their AC circuits over Google Pub/Sub or Amazon SNS asynchronous channels. They can embed this information into their visualization and monitoring workflows, and provide streaming information for power related alerts to their Operations team.

Learn how implement real-time operational insights in this IBX SmartView API webinar and explore the IBX SmartView API catalog today on the Equinix Developer Platform.

You may also want to check out these resources for additional details on IBX SmartView APIs:


[i]Uptime Institute, 2018 Data Center Industry Survey Results.


Avatar photo
Divesh Kumar Director, Product Software Architecture and Engineering
Subscribe to the Equinix Blog