We’ve witnessed a rapid rate of growth in the data center industry over the last 5 or 6 years, whether you measure by number and size of facilities, revenue or the number of providers. But this rapid growth has also led to a gap between the amount of infrastructure we have and the tools needed to manage it.
Too often, management is viewed as an afterthought. When that happens, it can become difficult to properly integrate your data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution with your building management system (BMS).
On the other hand, as Compass Datacenters knows well, when you put some thought into how you’ll integrate your DCIM and BMS, it can bring long-lasting benefits.
Compass builds standalone data centers that provide Tier III certified, LEED Gold, facilities in 1.2MW increments anywhere that a customer needs them to be. The company realized that providing a comprehensive management solution was essential to its goal of providing a complete product offering. The key to providing the solution that Compass envisioned was a base-level BMS that would tightly integrate with a DCIM system.
Working together with Schneider Electric, the company developed a methodology for integrating DCIM and BMS solutions early in the planning stages of a data center project. Compass found that optimized integration brings benefits it at least four areas: capacity planning, workflow, energy analysis, and analytics and reporting.
In terms of capacity planning, integration enables users to find the best locations for data center racks and equipment based on the availability of physical infrastructure capacity, such as power and cooling. An integrated platform also makes it easier to scale because operators get improved planning information from their DCIM and BMS solutions.
Integration improves workflow by simplifying the process of moves, adds and changes within the data center. With an integrated, centralized view into their data center, operators are able to perform a variety of functions that lead to reduced costs from better power utilization and less downtime.
With an integrated BMS and DCIM solution, data center operators also get a more accurate picture of their energy efficiency level. They can track the current and historical power usage efficiency (PUE) levels and get a real, measured PUE, rather than an estimate. They can also track the results of their energy efficiency improvements for both IT and the facility.
Finally, from that centralized interface, operators also get improved analytics and reporting capabilities, with the ability to present data in a variety of permutations. Integration maximizes the amount of information available to the data center operator, leading to superior planning and administration.
Failure to think through the integration between the BMS and DCIM systems can lead to scenarios where you can extract data from one or the other, but can’t present it with the level of detail necessary to make it actionable. As a result, you’re stuck building a custom interface, which is costly in terms of time, upfront costs and ongoing maintenance.
Learn more about how Schneider and Compass worked together to achieve a holistic data center management solution by checking out this case study.