Data center infrastructure management

What is DCIM?

Data centers are no longer only a requirement for large enterprises. With the increase in business complexities, even smaller organizations are being forced to move their network infrastructure from the confines of a small room to large data centers, resulting in the need to better manage resources like software, hardware, and network facilities including power, cooling, and the performance of overall physical infrastructure.

As the need for managed data centers increases, ensuring the effectiveness of critical environments will become a higher priority for organizations. Data center infrastructure management system (DCIM) is an extension of network infrastructure management that specifically deals with the complexities of data centers and managing infrastructure resources such as servers, switches, storage components, etc.

Why is DCIM important?

"75 percent of data center managers installed DCIM tool to cut costs."

The requirement for on-demand technology and the cost of deploying and managing it has been steadily growing in the past few years. In order to manage the increasing costs, complex deployment, and to maintain steady uptime and availability, data center managers need to stay informed about the status of their data center infrastructure monitoring devices at all times. This is where DCIM solutions come in handy. Besides providing the necessary data, DCIM management can also be used to optimize capacity, cut costs, save energy, and avoid downtime, all at the same time.

Challenges in managing data center infrastructure

Data centers are tasked with collecting, storing, and processing large amounts of data along with backup and recovery and running business operations; for this reason, it's essential to monitor a data center environment correctly, a complicated task in itself. The task of managing data center infrastructure comes with its own list of challenges.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) - ManageEngine OpManager Plus
  • Maintaining availability and uptime:
  • Ensuring the availability and uptime of your infrastructure components is at the heart and soul of any DCIM monitoring solution. For a data center to experience infrastructure downtime is a revenue loss, and it should be quickly identified and acted upon to ensure maximum uptime.

  • Discovering assets and monitoring performance:
  • Any new device waiting to be added to a network within your data center should be quickly discovered, accurately identified, and its relationship and interdependencies understood. An inventory of various components connected to your data center infrastructure should be maintained for easier asset tracking.

    Monitoring the performance of the data center components is a crucial activity for any data center manager. The various parameters of your network devices such as availability, CPU utilization, disc utilization, memory consumption, etc. should be accurately monitored for enhanced data center infrastructure management services.

  • Protecting data against emerging threats:
  • Data centers (such as colocation data centers) contain and manage the IT infrastructure of a large number of clients, making them viable targets for cyberattacks. To combat this, the facility should have a robust security system in place 24x7 or risk a breach.

    Threats can also occur in the form of misconfigurations resulting from human error, attacks from rogue devices, unauthorized access of data center elements, etc.

  • Maintaining deployment efficiency:
  • IT admins nowadays over-provision resources to avoid downtime, which can result in resources being wasted and the under-utilization of infrastructure components. More importance should be given to capacity planning, which begins with identifying all the under-utilized or idle resources. By shutting down or diverting the load to these resources, you can save on energy, cooling, and space occupied.

    Data centers contain finite space, and to make the most out of it, a careful plan is needed to better provision resources for maximum utilization of floor space and rack density.

  • Creating and compiling advanced reports:
  • As data centers gather enormous amounts of data on a daily basis, finding the relevant data from this data pile is a challenging task. This is where advanced reports such as forecast reports, capacity utilization reports, etc. come into play. You should be able to quickly create sophisticated yet accurate reports containing the exact information you are looking for. These reports play a crucial role in presenting data to upper management for forecast management, and greatly assist in making business expansion measures.

  • Gaining in depth visibility:
  • One of the biggest challenges data centers face is addressing visibility blind spots. Availability and health are not the only aspects of an infrastructure component that demand visibility; changes such as device configurations, updates on scheduled downtime, notifications when your devices exceed their bandwidth allocation, etc. also translate as visibility, and to better manage your data center, it's imperative that you are presented all this information on a single screen for easier understanding.

OpManager Plus: Scalable, centralized data center monitoring software

OpManager Plus helps data center managers across the world manage all physical, virtual, and logical data center assets; improve data center design; plan and provision new equipment; increase operational efficiency; plan future growth while maximizing utilization of existing resources to help maintain uptime; boost productivity; and drive efficiency.

Besides being an effective network management solution, OpManager Plus is also a very capable data center infrastructure management software.

1. Comprehensive monitoring and management of network devices:

  • Availability and health
  • OpManager Plus allows you to monitor the availability and health of your network devices from a unified point of view using dashboard and network operations center (NOC) views. Availability is measured using an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) ping or telnet if the device is in a demilitarized zone (DMZ).

  • Performance
  • OpManager Plus ensures all your device metrics are monitored by offering performance monitoring support for over 8,000 devices and more than 200 performance metrics.

    • Service monitoring
    • OpManager Plus offers agent-less service monitoring, and in case of an outage, automatically triggers remedial measures such as restarting the service, rebooting the system, or raising alerts.

    • Process monitoring
    • OpManager Plus supports all Windows and Unix processes out of the box: Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) for Windows, command-line interface (CLI) for Unix, and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) for servers and domain controllers.

  • Bandwidth
  • Allocating sufficient bandwidth will ensure critical applications and servers perform properly, and business operations function smoothly. Concurrently, it's important to analyze traffic data for insights into anomaly detection, traffic shaping, etc. OpManager Plus can monitor the various metrics of over 230 interfaces right out of the box.

  • Configuration
  • Overlooking a minor misconfiguration can lead to cascading effect, ultimately affecting the performance of your infrastructure and impacting business. OpManager Plus ensures configuration mismanagement is prevented by setting rule-based access, configuring backups, tracking user-based activity, and employing a fail-safe—an automatic backup in case a device outage occurs.

  • Storage devices monitoring
  • OpManager provides in-depth storage monitoring services for Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAIDs), Tape Libraries in Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), Network Attached Storage (NAS), Fibre Channel (FC), or Storage Area Network (SAN) on a visual platform for quicker storage issue identification.

Data Center Infrastructure Management System - ManageEngine OpManager Plus

2. Monitor data center devices in real time on a detailed visual interface:

OpManager Plus creates a dynamic visual representation of the elements present in your data center. It offers real-time information on the health and availability of your devices using color codes for easier understanding.

DCIM Software - ManageEngine OpManager Plus

3. Temperature and energy consumption management:

With OpManager Plus, you can monitor the temperature and energy consumption of your devices in real time. Various factors such as CPU health, CPU temperature, and all attributes of hardware health such as voltage, power consumed, or fan speed can be accurately monitored.

DCIM Solutions - ManageEngine OpManager Plus

4. Extensive security and threat detection:

OpManager Plus offers rule-based firewall analysis that can perform an endless list of security functions such as security compliance, user-based-access to limit employees from accessing all parts of your data center, log management, the ability to scrutinize real-time VPN data, etc. It also guarantees security by allowing you to monitor the bandwidth of your devices to identify suspicious increased activity in bandwidth usage, and restrict rogue IP addresses from accessing your network.

DCIM Tools - ManageEngine OpManager Plus
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