In the corporate world, business intelligence tools are frequently a topic of conversation. Several years back, our Product Manager and CEO Jan Durnhofer wrote a technical article on this topic. Check out his article here.

When you think of Business Intelligence (BI), names like MicroStrategy, SAS, Microsoft, and Oracle might come to mind. These companies offer well-known BI tools, so you may be wondering why I, as the director of sales for a software company that makes IT documentation and visualization software netTerrain, is discussing them. IT documentation and visualization don’t have anything to do with BI, right?

According to Wikipedia, “Business Intelligence” refers to application software designed to retrieve, analyze, transform, and report data in user-friendly formats such as reports, dashboards, charts, and graphs.

While our software – netTerrain — is different from the BI tools above, it still provides business intelligence that our data center users need. Data center managers don’t need to analyze vast amounts of structured and unstructured data from across an entire organization, afterall: what they need is actionable reporting and insights that specifically relates to their work.

Reporting in software like netTerrain helps data center managers plan capacity by providing information on available rack space, power availability, and weight availability at the rack, row, or room level.

netTerrain, for example, includes the Collector, which serves as a hub for connecting to third-party data sources. It can import data from these sources, similar to how a CMDB solution operates. netTerrain supports REST and SOAP APIs, spreadsheet import, and, in the netTerrain Integration toolkit, ODBC and SQL connectors. By connecting to your data sources automatically, your reports and dashboards will always have the most up-to-date data.

netTerrain Dashboards come with pre-built management-style dashboards focused on Data Center Rooms Capacity. These dashboards cover areas such as Assets/Inventory, devices by vendor and category, nameplate and real-time power, cooling, connectivity reports, port and card usage, and work order changes. Additionally, all these reports can be exported. Inside the Dashboard Editor, you can create as many widgets as you need, including pie charts and graphs.

Take a look at some sample reports here:

Summary of Project

Data Center Capacity


IPAM Report

AWS Cost Analysis

And if that’s not enough, our netTerrain Environmental Monitoring Module has a separate dashboard with all the power reports you can think of! Here is a sample the dashboard gadgets you can choose from to create your Power Dashboard:

Need to find zombie servers? The EM dashboard got you covered. Energy dashboard? Check! See below:

In netTerrain, you can easily aggregate power from the device, to rack, row, room, and Data Center.
In addition to these dashboards, netTerrain also provides other reporting capabilities, from building your own queries report, SQL Expression reports that can be applied to each individual diagram or data field. Need help to write a table report? As a customer on active software maintenance, our support team can also write custom reports for you!

To sum up: DCIM software like netTerrain is not just another run-of-the-mill business intelligence tool, and it’s not trying to be: it’s a secret weapon for precise and efficient management of your data center’s capacity and energy use. More than merely generating reports, netTerrain DCIM enables you to refine your operations, get a grip on capacity, make strategic decisions, and optimize resource allocation.

While giants like MicroStrategy, SAS, Microsoft, and Oracle may dominate the business intelligence landscape, netTerrain is a practical, user-friendly, and incredibly useful alternative specifically tailored for data center intelligence. It’s the tool you need not just to reduce costs, but also to identify and eliminate ‘zombie’ servers and gain comprehensive control of your assets, connections, and beyond.

Data Center Managers using netTerrain can gain a thorough understanding and effective management of their assets, power usage, connections, and much more. In sum: DCIM software like netTerrain gives you the hands-on approach to data center asset management that your team needs.

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.