The majority of data center professionals choose Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software to improve visibility, management and capacity planning and to identify problems that threaten availability. And results from a recent survey show DCIM is delivering on those expectations and more.
Tech Validate surveyed some 100 users of Schneider Electric’s DCIM software (StruxureWare for Data Centers), asking what led them to deploy the software, the challenges it helps them address, how it has improved data center performance and efficiency, and which function they use most.
Importantly, DCIM is helping respondents save significant money as well. Asked what percent of overall data center cost savings they’ve seen since implementing StruxureWare, 38 percent (and the largest grouping) reported saving between 31% and 40%, and one respondent reporting saving significantly more – over 50% (see chart).
While these figures do represent a smaller number of respondents, they also represent real savings in actual data centers. Those saving 31% to 40% include some large organizations, including an arm of the U.S. military and a large IT hardware company, as well as mid-size organizations including a community college and a health care company.
It’s also interesting to compare what drove customers to implement DCIM to what they’re actually getting out of it. In terms of the drivers, they shape up this way (respondents could pick more than one):
Those responses map well to the challenges that respondents report DCIM is helping them address. In open-ended responses, a few recurring themes emerged, including:
- Improved alerting on potential issues
- Improved remote monitoring
- Managing large numbers of dispersed UPSs
- Capacity planning
- Environmental monitoring
A facilities manager at a large enterprise insurance company summed up how DCIM helps him addresses challenges this way- (see quote).
Asked how StruxureWare has improved performance and efficiency in their data centers, respondents likewise had no shortage of answers, with many of them citing how the tool has enabled them to become more proactive. Users report getting notifications of power issues before a piece of hardware actually shuts down and when UPS batteries are starting to go bad.
The tool also helps with planning in various ways, as these responses illustrate:
- “In the terms of capacity and budgeting [for] power we have increased performance and reliability.” -Facilities Manager, Large Enterprise Telecommunications Company
- “It has helped to plan and better lay out new space as well as to efficiently use the space we have at each site.” – IT Manager, Global 500 Energy & Utilities Company
- “Power and environmental reports allow me to save and compare data from month to month and year to year.” – David Faulkner, IT Professional, Neighborhood Health Plan, Inc.
Respondents were also asked which DCIM function they used the most. Here responses varied among features including alerts, provisioning and monitoring of everything from UPSs to temperature and humidity. Montie Ballantyne, IT Project Manager, Harris County Central Technology Services reports using StruxureWare to monitor about 500 rack-mounted UPSs in the field, while a facilities manager at a large enterprise insurance company uses it to monitor “several hundred remote offices.”