A recent article by David Chernicoff called “When DCIM met ITSM” prompted me to start writing the blog about ITSM I’d been promising myself for some while now. But having finished it and read it back to myself, I had one of those Monty Python “what have Romans ever done for us” moments when I started to look at the integrations we’ve made with StruxureWare for Data Centers as well as the companies we’ve worked with to achieve them.
Normally I don’t like lists and I don’t really like to talk too heavily about our brands unless it’s to showcase something technical. But with a growing demand for integration between ITSM and DCIM as end users look for better insights into system operations, I thought it might be interesting to lay out some of the work that has been done over the last five years.
In 2011, we introduced a Smart Plug-in for HP Operations Manager; HP uCMDB and OneView integration with StruxureWare Data Center Operation. This provides a link between the physical infrastructure components monitored by the DCIM, such as power, cooling, and environmental devices, and the server infrastructure monitored by HP Operations Manager for Windows, such as servers, services, and applications.
Our IBM Tivoli integration allows Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare for Data Center Expert management platform, TAC Vista building management system and IBM Tivoli’s software management systems to share key data points. In doing so it can deliver the visibility, control and automation needed for a more efficient enterprise by enabling optimization of data center physical infrastructure and building systems while maintaining IT service levels.
Over the following two years we were focussed on helping companies to ensure that virtual loads could be efficiently, flexibly and scalably managed at a time when many customers were leveraging the compaction of IT devices to consolidate data center space. We worked with industry leaders Microsoft, VMware and Cisco to achieve this. Starting in 2013 we added a Data Center Expert management pack for Microsoft SCOM server, supporting Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager for proactive VM migration and VM visibility in DCIM software.
The Schneider Electric VMware vSphere Integration for StruxureWare Data Center Operation combines information from the IT-layer and the physical infrastructure layer, an automated response to power and cooling events, moving virtual machines from impacted host servers to constant healthy host servers for uninterrupted uptime and availability. This enables data center operators to proactively simulate and identify how a physical device failure will impact business critical applications, helping to ensure business continuity and prevent data loss.
Around the same time we introduced StruxureWare integrations with Cisco tools including EnergyWise to better guide the allocation or server resources, as well as tracking of assets in real-time, including virtual machines, and ensure applications are running in a safe environment. This allows a faster reaction to power disruption and to better allocate cabling for a reduction in installation costs. These integrations help ensure the compatibility of both the power and cooling load to rack and data center capacity for gaining optimal utilization of the data center’s physical infrastructure while eliminating the risk of tripped breakers and reducing over-provisioning.
Our association with Intel has led to some interesting developments, in particular the Intel DCM and Virtual Gateway integration with Data Center Operation. Working with Intel’s Virtual Gateway technology, we developed a new module in StruxureWare to provide an integrated software KVM and DCIM approach to provide full server lifecycle access and power cycling for remote management. As the first DCIM vendor to offer software-only server access capabilities, we view Server Access as an important component to improving data center energy efficiency.
The module allows IT managers, data center operators and facility managers to launch, manage, troubleshoot and control servers directly from the Server Access module, which by eliminating the need for hardware, can reduce technology costs by up to 50 percent.
More recently we announced automated cooling optimization through an additional software module called Data Center Operation: Cooling Optimize. This integration with Vigilent adds intelligence to existing legacy data center cooling systems, enabling significant energy reduction and cost of operations, as well as reduced risk of cooling incidents.
Data Center Operation: Cooling Optimize enables data center managers to understand the complexity of airflow within their facilities. As a dynamic closed-loop system, it learns from any actions such as inlet temperature adjustments, or changes to the equipment load to keep the data center cooling continuously optimized.
As Chernicoff points out in his piece on DatacenterDynamics, DCIM and ITSM are converging – a point which I think has also been well made by 451 Research. Eventually customers will be able to deploy end-to-end solutions, but that currently is to underestimate the complexity of IT / data center systems as well as the challenges of getting groups of stakeholders to collaborate to achieve a useful end result. In the meantime, we’ll continue to work with other technology solutions providers to simplify things and make them more accessible and useful.