The Future of...

The Future of DCIM

The actionable data center insights businesses need to thrive

Michael Marinelli
The Future of DCIM

In today’s business landscape, digital assets and applications are absolutely essential for success. With this in mind, it’s no wonder so many enterprises are relying on colocation providers to help them more efficiently house and maintain those critical assets (servers, storage, network equipment, etc.), and applications in vendor-neutral data centers located throughout the world.

Since these assets are so important to the business, enterprises increasingly want transparency into how they’re performing and how colocation data center infrastructure (power, cooling, backup generators, etc.) are performing to maintain business continuity—and they want those insights backed up by hard data. To help give customers the relevant, actionable operating data they demand, colocation providers are increasingly turning to data center infrastructure monitoring (DCIM) solutions.

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What is DCIM?

There is no generally accepted definition of exactly what constitutes DCIM, given that it can encompass a broad range of data center and IT infrastructure systems and processes. At Equinix, our DCIM solutions enable our customers to collect data center environmental and operating information to give them greater visibility into their IT infrastructure deployments on Platform Equinix®. This includes the monitoring and visibility for the electrical and mechanical systems supporting their colocation deployments, the power utilization of their IT infrastructure, and the temperature and humidity of the colocation data center environment.

Equinix IBX SmartView®, the Equinix DCIM application, gives customers on-demand access to this kind of information from supported Equinix IBX® data centers using the same interface across the globe. It provides a “single-pane” view of customers’ IBX deployments at the local zone, cage and cabinet levels, with alerts that allow customers to react to important events and configurable reports that enable proactive planning and IT infrastructure optimization.

In addition, IBX SmartView collects scripts for scheduled maintenance events and provides an interface for customers to download them. Customers can access IBX SmartView via a browser-based SaaS application or via IBX SmartView API Plus, near real-time streaming APIs. Customers can take advantage of the Equinix APIs through the Equinix Developer Portal to pull IBX SmartView data into the business intelligence or data management tools of their choice. A key feature of API Plus is the out-of-box cloud channel and IoT data manager integration. Streaming API data can be handed-off using AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud channels, as well as a private cloud asynchronous channel, and can be delivered directly to AWS IoT Core or Azure EventHub for viewing.

What kinds of data do customers expect from their DCIM solutions?

The most valuable types of DCIM data include:

  • Current and historic power draw information. Customers want to be able to determine their power usage over a particular period—typically a month, but sometimes longer or shorter for more specific use cases. This information also includes analytics on this data, such as peaks and averages over periods of hours, days and months.
  • Colocation capacity data. If a customer is approaching physical or contractual capacity limits, this information tells them to add capacity to avoid disruptions. It also helps them to compare how specific appliances or applications are working across their portfolio. With this data, they can identify potential problem areas and optimization opportunities.
  • Sustainability data. In addition to ensuring uptime, customers also want to run their digital infrastructure more sustainably. Customers want colocation providers to contribute to this goal by making their data centers more efficient and to source power from renewable energy sources. Customers want visibility into site-level environmental data associated with their colocation deployments, including renewable energy coverage relative to the total energy used, type of renewable energy sources, and Scope 2 GHG emissions associated with their total energy usage at each data center.
  • Data center infrastructure asset operating data. As more customers use colocation business-critical assets (e.g., power and cooling), they need greater transparency into how those assets are operating. Increasingly, they want to monitor this infrastructure more actively as the colocation facility is now a critical component of their application delivery technology stack. They also want notice of preventative maintenance events, and they want complete, step-by-step visibility into how colocation providers perform asset maintenance.
  • Physical security information. This includes data about who is accessing a data center or a particular customer cage, and when they’re accessing it. This information can be provided in real time via push notifications or data reports for historical information.

What will future DCIM capabilities look like and how will they benefit customers?

Most of our customers are already leveraging some combination of DCIM and other tools, including IT service management (ITSM), configuration management databases (CMDBs), security information management (SIM), software asset management (SAM) and workflow management tools. We also expect our customers to continue leveraging distributed asset monitoring and management capabilities across a much wider footprint than traditional private data centers, such as cloud or virtual infrastructures, edge infrastructures and IoT implementations.

Customers can take advantage of the Equinix APIs through the Equinix Developer Portal to pull IBX SmartView data into the business intelligence or data management tools of their choice.”

IT leaders are looking for ways to visualize and manage all these disparate infrastructures, including asset discovery, monitoring, KPI metrics, optimization, dependency mapping, and location of physical and logical assets. The DCIM tools of the future will enable efficiency analytics at scale with very low demand on site staff, unlocking their time to do more value-added work. They will also provide actionable intelligence about how the site is operating at a very granular level, with clearly actionable takeaways.

Our goal at Equinix is to make IBX SmartView an easy to use, unified platform for monitoring our customers’ critical infrastructure in Equinix data centers. These expanded monitoring capabilities, and the “hooks” to integrate IBX SmartView with customers’ workflow and change management tools and other types of services on Platform Equinix, will help customers automate more of their data center workflows and change management practices. This gives them a much more robust DCIM tool, driven by strong analytics.

Learn how to put IBX SmartView to work for your organization

IBX SmartView provides a robust foundation for monitoring distributed data center and IT infrastructure that can be combined with customers’ DCIM tools. With IBX SmartView API Plus, Equinix customers can integrate high-fidelity DCIM data into their business intelligence or data applications in near real-time, including integration with cloud service providers to deliver low-latency, high-throughput streaming data to customer applications via a multichannel and hybrid multicloud model.

To learn more about how IBX SmartView gives customers actionable DCIM insights across our global data center footprint, read the data sheet today.

 

The DCIM tools of the future will enable efficiency analytics at scale with very low demand on site staff, unlocking their time to do more value-added work.”
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