5 Questions to Ask When Shopping for a DCIM Vendor
Published on January 30, 2018,
So, you’ve decided that the addition of a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution is the right move for your company. Excellent! You’ll find that your DCIM investment pays many dividends such as:
- Project time savings
- Increased uptime
- Greater reporting accuracy
- Detailed computing infrastructure information
However, not all DCIM solutions are created equal and some fall short of the promised dividends. So how do you choose the data center management solution that’s right for your business needs and long-term goals?
Turning to the industry experts is a great first step. Look at what 451 Research, Gartner and other analyst firms have said about various DCIM vendors and their software solutions. Narrow your choices down to those that seem to reflect your needs best, and then research those vendors. Review their websites carefully and contact them for a product demonstration to learn more about the solution.
Most importantly ask DCIM vendors simple, but poignant questions to derive the best-fit DCIM solution for your data center. You don’t need to conduct a congressional hearing to get the needed information, just five simple questions will do:
1) How long have you been in the DCIM business, and what else do you do?
Make sure that the DCIM vendor you’re speaking to has been in the DCIM business for a considerable amount of time. Many vendors say they are DCIM experts but in reality, they are either new comers or their concentration is on many other software or hardware solutions — DCIM is an afterthought or giveaway with hardware items.
2) What does your DCIM solution provide?
This is an important question and the features you request should depend on what issues you’re looking to solve. Have a list of your priorities ready, as well as short and long-term goals you want accomplished.
For example, you should ask if the solution provides dock to decom, (loading dock to decommissioning) whole life-cycle asset management. Does it help with energy management, capacity planning and power monitoring, and does it allow for easy tracking of savings? Does the solution provide reports to satisfy your various stakeholders? How does the product measure up in terms of scalability? Does it provide alarms and alerts? Does it have the capability to perform “What if?” virtual testing?
3) Can you provide a Proof of Concept (POC)?
The DCIM vendor you’re considering should be able to demonstrate their DCIM expertise clearly and easily. If they are confident in their solution, they shouldn’t hesitate to show you how it works. If they balk at the request for a POC — be careful. The solution might not be fully operational, or it might have too many bugs.
4) Do you have customer references to contact?
Customer case studies are a great way to familiarize yourself with real-world problems that the DCIM solution has solved for other clients. But there is nothing like speaking to a person who uses the solution on a daily basis. Ask the DCIM vendor for customer references, and contact them. The ideal solution provider should have many happy customers who can validate and back up the vendor’s claims as well as quell any of your hesitations.
5) How long will implementation take and how many people will it involve?
The DCIM provider should give you a ballpark idea of whether implementation will take weeks or months, and how many staff members need to assist. The vendor should also provide help and guidance in every step of the process including data migration and integration with existing systems and connectors. Ask about training, customer service after the sale as well as any other associated costs. You also need to ask about the time it takes to see quantifiable Return on Investment (ROI).
Adding a DCIM solution to your computing infrastructure is a great idea, to help with energy and asset management, capacity planning, workflow and more. Selecting the right solution partner to see you through the entire process is critical.