Here at Graphical Networks, we make netTerrain Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software: it’s used by hundreds of organizations to document and manage their data centers space, power, and cabling capacity. It can be used to not only document your data center rooms, but also your telecom rooms and even your office floor space too.

Because we talk to a lot of organizations who need DCIM, we often hear the same concerns about DCIM come up time and time again. In this post, I’ll dispel some of the biggest ‘myths’ about DCIM out there.

Myth #1: DCIM’s Too Expensive

A common barrier companies will cite as to why they’re not purchasing DCIM software is that it’s just too expensive. As we’ve discussed in many of my previous blogs, DCIM doesn’t have to be expensive to get started…and DCIM pays for itself many times over.

How can you keep the cost of DCIM affordable? First, ask your DCIM vendor if there are any add-on modules, which can really increase the prices. With netTerrain DCIM, for example, there are no additional add-ons (except for the Outside Plant Module, used to track fiber strands and cables). This means that when you buy netTerrain, you get automatic network discovery and environmental monitoring included — no hidden fees.

In addition to making sure there are no hidden add-ons required, you may want a DCIM vendor that offers a flexible licensing schema to allow you to grow. With netTerrain, for example, you can start off by documenting a smaller room first. Get it well documented and then show this to management about how DCIM helps you with managing capacity, finding information quickly, troubleshooting issues faster, and provide you with management-style reports and dashboards in a jiffy. Get approval to document more, see the ROI grow, and scale up as you go.

Example of a Connectivity Dashboard in netTerrainContinuous Rack Unit Report in netTerrain

Myth #2: DCIM’s Too Restrictive

Back in the prehistoric days…errr, ten or more years ago… enterprise software mostly spoke its own language: it didn’t integrate, or play well, with other solutions. In fact, I’ve heard from other organizations that their DCIM didn’t take off due to integrating with their existing CMDB and/or other applications just didn’t work or required paid consultants and was therefore too cost-prohibitive. Thanks to REST APIs, that’s not the case anymore.

Today, buying a (good) DCIM solution doesn’t mean you’re buying an island: it’s more like buying a bridge between islands so that all of your data is easy to access and visualize. Make sure to ask your DCIM vendor if you can see their REST APIs and also investigate your other application’s APIs to make sure they can be easily integrated. In fact, we just saw an article from a company, Itential, who created a connection to netTerrain using our APIs. Another customer even wrote a white paper discussing this (they also created their own mobile app).

Myth #3: DCIM’s Too Complicated

Let’s face it: DCIM isn’t simple. It’s complex software that needs to have a great deal of power behind it. That being said, DCIM can be simple to use. Our software, netTerrain, for example, is so easy to get started that you don’t even need to open the user guide to get going. Case in point: a consistently #1 ranked large hospital in Boston asked their intern to start testing DCIM tools and found netTerrain so easy to use compared to the other DCIM tools that they bought netTerrain DCIM. This is important: if your DCIM tool isn’t usable, it will become so hard to use that your staff will stop using it. Please make sure to take the time and test your DCIM solution…the last thing you want is your DCIM solution to be shelfware.

Other considerations to ensure you don’t buy software you can’t use? Make sure to define your requirements, check to see how scalable your DCIM solution can be, if they have REST APIs to use to connect to your other applications, and make sure it is an easy enough system to use.

To summarize, don’t let myths about DCIM stop you from being able to plan for capacity better, solve outages faster, reduce power/cooling costs, and save money by not buying stuff you don’t actually need. Do your homework before you buy and the solution you choose will continue to deliver ROI for years to come. If you’d like to test-drive netTerrain in a free trial (no credit cards required), or you have some questions, click here to get started.

About Fred Koh

As a seasoned sales executive, Fred Koh serves as Director of Sales and is responsible for Graphical Networks sales and channel partner program, marketing strategy, and operations.