Your data center needs to deliver 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s a monumental task in and of itself. Add on to that […]

Crash Course: Find DCIM That Pays Off

Your data center needs to deliver 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s a monumental task in and of itself. Add on to that […]


Your data center needs to deliver 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s a monumental task in and of itself. Add on to that all the various tools, teams, and KPIs associated with your data center’s performance. Given all of this, it goes without saying that most organizations today need a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM), or in some cases, new DCIM software to replace a solution that’s not working out.

If you’re reading this, you’re quite possibly looking for a DCIM tool such as our software netTerrain DCIM. But…before you make a commitment to one vendor’s solution, how can you error-proof your decision? In this article, we’ll look at four key areas that are important to consider as well as four key questions to ask a DCIM vendor before you commit.

Scalability

We’ve written about the need for scalable DCIM many times in the past, and we’ll discuss it many more times from here. Why? Scalable DCIM is that important.

What do we mean by ‘scalable DCIM’? Scalable DCIM means software that will easily grow along with your projects and data centers. When DCIM is scalable, you can start small, for example: a smaller project such as a data center room. Scalable means you can pay-as-you-grow as well (so you don’t have to buy the house right away if right now you only need a parking spot). As an example, at Graphical Networks we offer DCIM bundle packages that let you start slowly and build up as needed (in addition to flexible licensing options that also allow you to start small).

But wait…there’s more. Starting small and paying-as-you-grow isn’t all there is to scalable DCIM: scalability in DCIM also means the software is flexible enough to adapt to your changing needs, can easily integrate with new tools you will add down the road, and, this is important, is treated to frequent vendor updates and releases to ensure ongoing usability and compatibility.

Is it Scalable? Questions to Ask a DCIM Vendor

  • Can I start small and pay-as-we-grow?
  • How easy is it to add more licenses in the future? How expensive?
  • Do I have to pay for an upgrade installation? How complicated is it?
  • Can I start with a small project like a data center?
  • How often is the software updated?

Integrations

Software that communicates with other tools is a key component to a successful DCIM implementation (read a recent case study on netTerrain DCIM and the importance of integrations by clicking here). To truly give your stakeholders, your network engineers, and data center managers a full picture of the various aspects of a data center’s infrastructure, information about devices, usage, power, and tools you have to be able to be put together on one cohesive platform.

Further, for a DCIM solution to truly be usable and deliver the promised ROI, the solution must be able to easily communicate with other tools. By ‘easily’, I mean no need DCIM that connects with other tools without the need for expensive consultants, endless projects, and time drains: just pre-built connectors and an extensible and heavily documented API as needed.

Is Integration Easy? Questions to Ask a DCIM Vendor

  • Which APIs are available? Can you see the API documentation?
  • Ask how you would connect to a common tool you use, such as AWS or ServiceNow.
  • What are the different methods that you can import data into your DCIM, that doesn’t require any professional services integration services work.

Support

Support is essential to the success of any DCIM customer (and vendor). An unsupported solution becomes shelfware fast (you can read more about this by clicking here). Before you buy a DCIM package, make sure the vendor has a long-term market strategy, that they are financially soluble, and that releases and updates are done consistently.

It’s a dead giveaway if the vendor isn’t going to be supporting its DCIM solution, if the last version or update was over two years ago, for example. Trust me, we have received many demo requests and new customers due to this. netTerrain has been releasing new versions and updates since 2009 (and we are about to release our new version 9.0 this month)!

Further, ensure that customer support is wrap-around. Wrap-around support means that from implementation to upgrades, adjustments, and all the way down to any issues that may pop up, the support you need is there. If, for example, you experience a problem, what’s the process for getting it resolved?

Is it Supported? Questions to Ask a Vendor

  • How frequently are new releases pushed out?
  • What’s the vendor’s long-term strategy?
  • What’s the vendor’s market history?
  • Is there ongoing training and certification opportunities?
  • How does the vendor help you solve problems, for example: how hard is it to reach an actual human being?

To sum up, a DCIM investment is not a small decision and choosing the right DCIM solution is critically important for the success of your rollout. Make sure that you can scale up as needed, by starting with a smaller project that you can grow into, without breaking the bank.

Ensure that integrating your existing tools with a new DCIM solution won’t turn your project into a life sentence … or a purchase that leads to shelfware. Confirm that you’re not buying a solution from a vendor who’s on the way out of the DCIM market — leaving you holding an expensive, and empty, bag. If you’d like to see netTerrain DCIM, click here to schedule a discovery call with us — during this time, you can pick our brains.

Fred Koh
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.

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