The growing trend toward higher density through virtualization and cloud computing requires facilities and IT to be constantly aligned. This means that a comprehensive management solution is essential to the successful operation of any data center. As data centers rapidly evolve, the IT management systems need to be agile enough to keep pace. As Building Management Systems (BMS) and Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) are the major drivers, the emerging necessity of tightly integrating these systems comes to light.
DCIM platforms provide an immense amount of valuable space monitoring data, with strong systems presenting that data in a user friendly format for planning and action. While a BMS system in a data center monitors both the electrical and cooling systems, it also controls and optimizes the mechanical system via a sequence of automatic operations (opens and closes valves, puts the datacenter in economization mode, starts generators for preventative maintenance, etc). Therefore, when you couple the DCIM data with a BMS system, that actionable DCIM data can now have automatic rules or sequences to optimize the data center without user intervention. The data center becomes a single system with the capability to optimize and react in real time and proactively to the ever changing space.
Analysts have been citing the trend of merging IT and facilities data for the enterprise market. While the enterprise market seems to be embracing this trend, it is equally important for colocation facilities to adopt BMS and DCIM integration as well. Without tight integration, the capabilities of DCIM are not fully utilized and not in a workable format from the BMS.
While it might seem tactically difficult, a colo’s failure to develop a BMS that is optimized for DCIM integration will result in an incomplete management structure that does not take advantage of all the capabilities available. By implementing this integration policy, colos can optimize the core functionality of BMS and DCIM, such as:
- – Capacity planning: An integrated platform facilitates the ability to scale through improved planning information and incremental growth.
- – Workflow: An integrated central interface allows operators to perform a variety of functions, thereby reducing costs due to downtime and power utilization.
- – Energy efficiency analysis: Integration provides the ability to monitor their energy usage and track the results of their energy efficiency improvements for both IT and the facility.
- – Analytics and reporting: Integration maximizes the amount of information available to the data center operator, enhancing superior planning and administration.
One could even propose that there is a greater need for colos to have BMS and DCIM integration because colos have multiple customers. Customers get the greatest ROI by maximizing the efficiency of the data center, down to each piece of equipment. Integration provides colo customers with a holistic view of the space in a user-friendly format. The level of integration support between the BMS and DCIM is critical if the information exchanged between the two is to be effectively utilized by the customer. In what some call “integrated” scenarios, the data is not usable because it is not delivered with the level of detail necessary to make it actionable.
Further, the impact of integration is maximized by incorporating the solution into the early planning stages. Advance planning for BMS and DCIM integration will narrow the gap between the silos of data in IT and facilities management – an issue that effects colocation facilities as much as the enterprise market.
Through this approach, the systems can be optimized to work together, elevating the performance and capabilities of the data center. A system where integration is not the design objective can lead to the selection of alternatives that can hinder reliability and cost-effective operations. Running at peak performance is the desired result for any data center, whether enterprise or colocation.