At Data Centres Europe 2012 in Nice, I had the opportunity to speak with Fabrice Coquio, President of Interxion France and Philippe Diez, VP of France and Benelux for Schneider Electric. Fabrice talked about his company’s use of Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare for Data Centers and in particular the importance of DCIM software to one of Europe’s leading colocation service providers.
“Interxion own and operate 29 data centers in Europe, seven of which are in Paris. And we host thousands of customers. Managing a professional data center without a DCIM solution is actually not an option. Obviously for us it is a crucial tool,” said Fabrice Coquio.
“On top of that we have created a partnership with Schneider Electric for a long time but particularly recently to create an extranet for our customers to give them more, not only satisfaction, but more transparency about what’s taking place within our data center because they need to feel at home within our data centers.”
“This sort of service has been driven by customer requests. They need more transparency [about the data center space]; they need to know at all times, whether on PC, PDA or Smartphone, about power availability at the breaker level, but also about temperature, humidity and so-on. We can offer our customers this solution thanks to Schneider Electric StruxureWare for Data Centers.”
I asked Philippe Diez what was standing in the way of the technology becoming more mainstream. “First we need more proof points – the kind of collaboration that we have with Interxion is a proof point… it’s something we can showcase. Collaboration with early adopters like Interxion is key to us developing new technologies.”
Secondly, the software has to be seen to useful to enterprise managers – a key success of other enterprise applications, such as ERP and CRM, was to engage corporate management and convince them of the value of the investment in software.
So the perception of DCIM as an engineering tool for data center personnel needs to change. The value that the software can bring to an organisation not just in terms of the availability of IT services, but in terms of sweating expensive capital assets by maximizing the lifetime of data centers, and also as part of a wider energy management regime, needs to be grasped by corporate management.
“We need to convince them it is a valuable investment for their business; to put in place the right team – across facilities, IT and management – to elaborate the processes to use DCIM software and then choose the solution accordingly. Start with management and process, then choose the solution – not the opposite way round,” said Philippe Diez.
Interxion says it has a good experience as a customer of Schneider Electric: “We’ve got a collaboration with Schneider Electric for many years at Group level, and in France obviously. We share very frequently all the information about the market, about the customer demands, with Schneider Electric… not only to work on the data centers we operate but also on the ones we are intending to build,” said Fabrice Coquio.
“We expressed this requirement coming from our customers regarding an extranet to access their data remotely about what was taking place in the data center. Schneider Electric had a solution available; we worked in a very short space of time to implement that solution – from their software to our service. We were very satisfied with the availability of the experts from Schneider Electric, and also their capacity to listen to our requirements and give the right answers.”
I asked Fabrice how important an evolution DCIM was to help Interxion do their job better?
“We have to manage our data centers for no failure for our customers. This means we need to have the tools to enable us to perform this mission. Without DCIM, this is almost impossible nowadays. Ten years ago, operating a data center was kind of learning by doing. But it’s an expert job today. So we need to have the right tools… it’s not an option not to have DCIM in place.”