Constant changes and evolution define the modern data center. As a result of all of these changes, the software in which you invested just a few […]

Find DCIM Software That Lasts for the Long Haul

Constant changes and evolution define the modern data center. As a result of all of these changes, the software in which you invested just a few […]


Constant changes and evolution define the modern data center. As a result of all of these changes, the software in which you invested just a few years ago still needs to be able to get the job done for your data center today and your data center five years from now. If you need Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM), it’s important to find software that lasts for the long haul.

DCIM is an investment: financial, team buy-in, and time. It’s not something you want to revisit every few years – it’s something that should be able to grow alongside you. Though DCIM has evolved since Gartner first coined the acronym, many DCIM vendors now call DCIM other names like IDCM, or separate it into other functions, like IT Operations, or Transformation. At the end of the day, though, DCIM by any other name is still DCIM.

When looking at the various DCIM vendor offerings out there, how can you differentiate software that can grow with you from software that won’t be able to go the long haul?

Below are some of the items that, after our decades in the IT documentation market, we believe are important to consider:

Pricing

It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how much your DCIM will cost you. Are there any additional modules, or add-ons, that you are not aware of? How is your DCIM vendor charging you? By rack, devices, or ports?

At Graphical Networks, we offer rather simple DCIM pricing: we charge our netTerrain DCIM by number of devices. We do not feel that pricing by rack is fair — especially if you only have a handful pieces of equipment per rack and pricing by number of active ports, can you imagine how much that will be?

Cost & Process for Additional Licenses

How easy is it to add on additional licenses? How expensive is it? That can add up fast! Think about it like this: if you only need an acre of land to start planting, you shouldn’t be forced to buy the entire farm up front.

netTerrain DCIM, for example, provides you with a pay-as-you-grow system that allows you to affordably add on as your data center, or DCIM project, grows over time. netTerrain by default, comes with unlimited users, but you can start off with a smaller number of users, to reduce your DCIM investment.

License Options

Does your DCIM vendor provide the flexibility to provide on-premise yearly license subscription, or a permanent (perpetual) license, where you keep the license forever, with an ongoing, optional software maintenance (new versions, customer support)? Do they even offer a Cloud subscription by the month or by the year, so you can have your own Proof of Concept, even before committing time, resources, and money for your DCIM project?

Implementation

Do you have to implement the software in entirety right away — or can you start small? With netTerrain, it’s easy to start with a smaller DCIM project (such as a data center room) and continue implementing over time.

Open architecture

How extensible is the API? Are there connectors to your existing tools? netTerrain offers extensible, heavily documented APIs as well as a suite of pre-built connectors to third-party tools such as Spectrum, ServiceNow, and AWS.

Hierarchies

Avoid getting locked into a complicated system that doesn’t offer flexible hierarchies. Can you only document one building, or one campus, or — can you document and manage any number of sites, campuses, or buildings?

In netTerrain DCIM, as an example, you can create an unlimited number of your own layers and hierarchies — from world map views to port and card views. More often than not, our customers need this level of flexibility. They need, for example, to pull up their IT assets in various views, have different stakeholders, or they have more than one data center.

Regular Updates

How often is the software updated? Is a software vendor ensuring their DCIM solution stays current over time with regular updates? If there hasn’t been any new updates, buyer beware: it may be a sign that the software will be nearing end-of-life or that the vendor isn’t focusing their efforts in maintaining its DCIM solution.

Support

Even with the best DCIM software on the market (such as netTerrain), you still need to ensure that the customer support available to you is robust. Speak to a live person, chat, or email support. DCIM solutions should have many different ways to reach Support and an actual person, not just a system for entering support tickets.

As constant changes go hand in hand with data centers today, you need to ensure the software you select for data center infrastructure management is able to keep up. Bottomline? DCIM software that lasts for the long haul should offer pricing, licensing, flexibility (hierarchies and APIs), regular updates, and good support. We’ve designed our DCIM software to last for the long haul: if you’d like to get a demo and free trial, click here.

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.

Comments are closed.