EcoStruxure IT Continues to Deliver on its Promise to Modernize DCIM updates

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I am happy to share that 2023 was an exceptional year for us with strong improvements to our EcoStruxure IT software portfolio and growth in revenue and customers. There were also challenges as we are still recovering from the effects of Covid and witnessing changes in global politics and legislations.

The DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) manager has historically been focused on three main topics: availability, security, and costs. Today the DCIM manager is also handling the hybrid IT environment, technologic advancements, multiplatform, sustainability, and data legislation while facing a lack of people and skills. Managing a data center is a challenging job. At Schneider Electric, we choose to see this as an opportunity because it is our job to make the lives of our customers easier.

The EcoStruxure IT Focus for 2024

For Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT software portfolio, our focus points in 2024 will continue to follow the DCIM 3.0 strategy of resiliency, security, sustainability, and focus points for development include:

  1. Continue our commitment to support the hybrid IT environment (on-prem and cloud).
  2. Improve the ability for integrations.
  3. Enhance end-to-end security – both cyber and environmental/physical across the entire EcoStruxure IT portfolio including the Schneider Electric Network Management Card.
  4. Focus on sustainability by supporting our customers in reporting metrics to governments and improving their own infrastructure.

DCIM Highlights of 2023

Looking back at 2023, the EcoStruxure IT team is proud of many accomplishments. To mention a few:

  • Vendor neutrality:  IT Expert and Data Center Expert now feature out-of-the-box support for well-known data center infrastructure device manufacturers.
    • A new Help Center and enhanced Entitlements Portal with the latest updates, making it easier for our customers and partners to find help and take advantage of self service options.
  • A new EcoStruxure IT eLearning portal to enable a flexible and easy onboarding for our software.
  • Significant improvements to the EcoStruxure IT web journey via se.com and apc.com to learn more about the challenges DCIM addresses and the solutions we offer. New overview pages were introduced and are linked in each offer update in this blog.

Here is a look at our portfolio and the latest developments. Personally, I am happy to provide a snapshot into what is happening with IT Expert. And I checked in with our ace team of product managers and they are reporting on the progress made in the past year and where we are headed in 2024.

IT Expert Cloud-based Software

Last year, Schneider Electric made a massive investment in IT Expert to make it a better fit for large enterprise customers. The key features we released include: Warranty and Service information on devices; scheduled reports; Alarm Severity Management; alarm email for groups; operator role; and improved firmware upgrade.

We are thrilled to see our development efforts have produced positive results. IT Expert experienced huge growth in customers in 2023! We’re continuing our development investments in 2024 and beyond.  We have made IT Expert an essential tool for our enterprise customers, and we continue to enhance it.  With so many new customers, we saw an opportunity to get key feedback from them and use that feedback to help drive our DCIM roadmap for this year. As a result, 2024 focus points will be:

  • Sustainability metrics
  • Cyber Security: ISO 27001 certification
  • Improve alarm management and alarm policies.
  • Configuration improvement for large asset fleets
  • Reporting improvement
  • Cloud-based discovery management
  • A new API with more data points and integrations
  • Room and Rack Visuals for lite modelling

IT Expert ConnectWise Integration

In 2023, we prioritized improving Cloud-based software and Service Ticket Integration for Managed Service Providers. MSPs can manage IT physical infrastructure for their customer’s IT devices with automated power infrastructure alarm workflows from IT Expert to the ConnectWise PSA ticketing system and the benefits include:

  • Recurring revenue streams
  • Time savings with ticket creation/management
  • Operational efficiency improvement
  • Opportunities to grow MSP business and expand capabilities
  • Visibility and actional insights

Data Center Expert On-premises Software

Data Center Expert saw many “under-the-hood” improvements in 2023, setting it up for a momentous 2024. Kevin Buss, Data Center Expert Product Manager, explained the focus was on increasing the engineering team, and enhancing security, cryptography, and software performance. We also prioritized meeting with our customers to gain valuable feedback for helping us develop the roadmap for Data Center Expert.

As a result, in 2023, Data Center Expert underwent a complete overhaul, which improved and optimized the software while adding long-awaited features. Specifically, DCE v8.0 added: enhanced device discovery for NetBotz Appliances; enabled default security settings; stabilized backup and restore; and improved device configuration options.

DCE 8.1 was recently released, which added a new REST API, syslog functionality with increased detail in the audit log, additional device configuration options, configurable LDAP timing, and improved visibility into the software’s performance. Buss said the primary focus throughout 2024 will be FIPS 140-3 validation, DoDIN APL Listing, supporting HyperV, IPv6 Support, SSO Support, MFA Support. Sustainability, and a modernized Web UI.

DCIM modernization with EcoStruxure IT

Secure Network Management Card

Addressing end-to-end security for Schneider Electric solutions, in May 2023, Schneider Electric announced a Secure Network Management Card (NMC) Subscription will be required to upgrade to NMC3 firmware version 3.0 (IEC-certified). Customers with EcoStruxure IT Expert and Data Center Expert software licenses will not require a Secure NMC Subscription as the Secure NMC System capabilities are included with these software products. To learn more about Schneider Electric Network Management Card click here.

NetBotz Appliances, Cameras, Sensors

2023 has been a great year for NetBotz. Rick Ogren, NetBotz Product Manager, shared how Schneider Electric released an updated version of the NetBotz 250 (NetBotz 250A), which now utilizes a more modern NMC3. The team also released software improvements for the NetBotz 250, 250a, and the 75x series of devices. All of the improvements helped to not only add features but stabilize the platform.

Supply chain resiliency was tremendously improved and allowed us to show significant revenue growth in 2023. We also launched the NetBotz refresh program in North America that allows our customers to upgrade their out-of-warranty NetBotz devices at a discount and properly recycle the old ones.

Ogren said the focus for 2024 is to build on what made us successful in 2023, and to continue to look for ways to drive value to our customers. The main focus is the NetBotz/IT Expert integration. NetBotz and Data Center Expert have a long history of working together seamlessly to deliver value and our focus is to bring that same level value to our IT Expert customers. This includes bringing features like NetBotz video and access control support to IT Expert, but also includes having the NetBotz Appliances act as IT Expert Gateways. We will also be working hard on TAA certification for NetBotz in North America and launching the NetBotz Refresh program globally.

IT Advisor On-premises and Cloud-based software

With the introduction of several new features and enhancements, IT Advisor experienced a memorable 2023, according to Carsten Højriis, IT Advisor Product Manager. They include performance improvements to the Web Client along with a new landing page and web UI improvements. In addition, we added:

  • Genome Library in the Web Client: Enables customers to add and remove existing genomes, search in the Genome Library, and manage “My Genome.”
  • SSO SAML 2.0 for the Web Client and Desktop.
  • IT Advisor on mobile devices: Enables customers to navigate, search, scan, get rack previews and overviews, and perform rack audits.
  • Basic Asset Modeling: Enables customers to model their data center easily in the Web Client.

In 2024, Højriis said the team is committed to continuing our investment in the development of IT Advisor with a specific focus on enhancing the Web Client and initiating the development of Power Modeling in the Web Client. This development will encompass simple Power Modeling, involving connecting RMPDU to PDU/UPS power path, and advanced Power Modeling, including Floor Power Path. Our priority will be to develop and enhance IT Advisor’s dashboard and incorporate sustainability metrics. Stay updated with IT Advisor and its latest releases on the EcoStruxure IT Forum.

eLearning Platform Cloud-based Software

In 2023, a number of new self-paced, eLearning courses supported the DCIM software this includes:

  • eLearning courses: Data Center Expert
  • eLearning courses: IT Advisor Admin
  • eLearning courses: NetBotz

Jesper Bjerregård, ACS, Education and Services Product Manager, said that in 2024, the team will continue adding more self-paced learning to the platform while updating the existing training modules:

  • eLearning courses: PowerChute Network shutdown for admins
  • eLearning courses: IT Advisor 9.4.x update
  • Ability to take a quiz in eLearning

Service On-site and Remote Service

The year 2023 was all about getting the existing services updated, so they match today’s service needs, according to Jesper Bjerregård, ACS, Education and Services Product Manager. The focus on services in 2024 will be creating more remote services offers to help customers get the most out of their DCIM investment. The team will also be looking at more preventive maintenance services to help customers keep their DCIM system up-to-date. Also being planned are new service to support installation and configuration of PowerChute Network Shutdown systems.

2024- Exciting Year for DCIM

We believe 2024 will be an exciting year for our DCIM products. Beginning with our extended support for sustainability reporting and continuing with modern designs for Data Center Expert and IT Advisor front ends. IT Expert and Data Center Expert will get security certifications and upgrades to API for better integration. We are looking forward as we keep improving our products for customers usage. Stay updated on development and releases on our DCIM software page.

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