Several months back, I wrote an article about DCIM 101 — which aims to dispel some myths and cover the basics of what DCIM software is. As that article has been popular, I want to follow up and discuss the next steps in finding the right DCIM software for your organization.

You may be wondering where to begin your journey in finding a good DCIM solution? Let’s discuss some key areas you should be aware of when looking at various DCIM vendors, your DCIM needs checklist, and also some best practices for deploying your first project.

Ask: Do We Have Management Approval?
When tasked with finding DCIM software, make sure you ask a very important question (or two…). How much can I spend and when can I get this implemented? If you don’t have buy-in from management, please do us DCIM vendors a favor and wait till this is done and then contact the DCIM vendors. This way, you don’t end up wasting your time investigating products that simply won’t work for your organization.

Ask: Will the DCIM Software Let Us Scale Up?
Where to start? Start small and scale up over time: Rome wasn’t built in a day and your DCIM project can’t be, either.

You don’t have to tackle your entire data center(s) at the very beginning. Start off with a smaller data center room to help minimize the risks and deliver results quickly to management, so they can see the benefits of using a DCIM solution.

It’s much easier to ask for an upgrade then spending lots of money upfront. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure the DCIM vendor you select offers upgrade paths to avoid expensive complications down the road.

Ask: Will You Need the Cloud?
Is DCIM available on the Cloud? Is your process to order new server (or VM) with a database license take what it seems forever? Will this derail your DCIM project? When talking to your DCIM vendors, ask what license options are available.

Is it just an on-premise version or do you also offer a cloud version of their DCIM solution? Starting off on the cloud, while waiting for your server to be provisioned, can significantly help speed up the time to deploy your solution. Can you migrate the data from the Cloud to an on-premise version, after your server is finally commissioned? This should be an important question to ask your vendor, if this is the approach you would want to take.

Ask: Is this Vendor-Agnostic DCIM Software?
There are so many hardware vendors out there for servers, routers, switches, patch panels, PDU’s, and racks. Will your DCIM vendor support all of the manufacturer’s products?

As there have been acquisitions of DCIM vendors by larger, hardware specific companies, will they only support their own products? Will they support other manufacturer products too?

Ask: Are the Appropriate Stakeholders in the Loop?
Communicate within. It’s amazing how many times I deal with large corporations and when it’s time to purchase: their purchasing dept or another department informs them, that they already have a DCIM solution already purchased. Talking about a waste of time for you and your vendors.

Talk to your Data Center Managers, Facility Managers, and Network Managers to see if they have systems in place already. If you have disparate data that you would like to connect/integrate with, for example to netTerrain with its connector/Integration toolkit, will you get a roadblock from the data/system administrator that you cannot have access to our Service Desk, CMDB (Service Now), Network Management system (like Solarwinds Orion NPM, CA Spectrum)? I’ve seen this happen to countless companies and their DCIM is now shelf ware. Please talk to the appropriate stakeholders!

Ask: Does the DCIM Vendor Stand Behind their Product?
POC or Trial? Does your vendor offer a way to test their DCIM vendor at no charge? For 14 days? 30 days? If your DCIM vendor does that offer this, shouldn’t this be a red flag? Make sure to ask your vendor sales rep if this is offered. Many of the DCIM vendor webpages, don’t mention this, so please do ask.

In conclusion, I hope this helps when beginning and reviewing your DCIM journey. We do offer a DCIM e-book series to help you in determining requirements for a DCIM solution. Feel free to access it here.

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.