Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) Software
Data centers continue to grow in complexity as organizations need more processing power and resources to support their IT operations.
It’s not enough to monitor capacity and power. Every aspect of a data center infrastructure must be monitored and optimized to improve operational efficiency.
Here’s an in-depth look at what data center infrastructure is and the core elements that make it up. We’ll also look at how Nylte’s DCIM software helps you automate the management of your computer infrastructure.
Data center infrastructure refers to the components that make up a data center’s physical infrastructure — networking equipment, storage devices, and switches, to name a few.
These provide the processing power that organizations need to run their applications and manage their IT operations.
Data center infrastructure also includes equipment that supports those core components. To keep servers from overheating and shutting down, data centers deploy cooling systems and other environmental controls.
What Are the Core Elements of Data Center Infrastructure?
A data center infrastructure comprises the following components. Each of these elements play a key role in supporting business activities.
Applications are dedicated software that’s designed to perform specific tasks.
A common example in today’s modern organization is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. These applications allow companies to manage their customer data and streamline communications from an interface.
A user can interact with a CRM through their computer, which then pulls information from a centralized database.
Databases allow organizations to store their data. But there needs to be a structured way to organize that data for future retrieval.
Databases are typically controlled by a Database Management System (DBS) — software that organizes data into tables and interlinks them. Applications interact directly with databases when performing various functions.
Servers are physical hardware that provide the processing power that applications and databases need to carry out their tasks. These should have enough CPU and memory to run those tasks.
Then there are the operating systems, which are specifically designed to run on servers and process requests from computers on the network.
Networks consist of an array of routers, switches, and controllers that provide the communication paths for all networked devices. They create connections between the clients and the server, and between the server and the storage arrays.
Storage arrays are physical disks where data is stored for subsequent use. They can be made up of mechanical hard disks (HDD), solid-state drives (SSD), or both.
Each of these core elements serve crucial functions in a data center. Optimizing each one can increase operational efficiency and reduce operating costs.
What Are the Standards for Data Center Infrastructure?
The Telecommunications Industry Association ANSI/TIA-942-A is an American National Standard that describes four ratings that data centers can be classified. These cover all aspects of a data center, including its physical location, network security, fire safety, and more.
Here’s a look at each of those classifications and what they mean.
Basic Site Infrastructure
A data center with a tier 1 rating is the fastest to implement (3 months), but has a number of drawbacks. It has single capacity components, and only a single distribution path for power and cooling.
The infrastructure itself is susceptible to planned and unplanned activities. It needs to shut down completely for preventive maintenance and repair work. The lack of redundant components means that any unplanned outages or failures will result in downtime.
Redundant Capacity Component Site Infrastructure
Data centers with a tier 2 rating have improved protection against physical events. It has redundant capacity components, but only a single path for power and cooling distribution.
Tier 2 data centers also have an uninterruptible power source (UPS) that provides emergency power to ensure continued uptime. However, the data center infrastructure still needs to shut down to perform scheduled maintenance.
Concurrently Maintainable Site Infrastructure
Data centers with a tier 3 rating take more time to implement (15 to 20 months), but have redundant capacity components and multiple distribution paths.
Tier 3 data centers are concurrently maintainable, meaning any capacity component or distribution element can be serviced without disrupting operations. However, unplanned events can still cause disruption.
Fault Tolerant Site Infrastructure
Data centers with a tier 4 rating have redundant capacity components and multiple distribution paths for power and cooling. They’re able to handle planned activities like scheduled maintenance and even unplanned events without disrupting system operations.
Tier 4 data centers have an estimated annual downtime of just 0.4 hours. This is in stark contrast to tier 1 data centers with an estimated annual downtime of 28.8 hours.
Managing the physical infrastructure of a data center is by no means an easy feat. But it’s crucial for optimizing its efficiency and keeping costs down.
Using spreadsheets or homegrown databases isn’t always practical. Just to check space availability, data center operators would need to send someone on site.
Data Center Infrastructure Management, or DCIM software, allows you to manage your entire physical and virtual computer infrastructure including data center, colocation, and edge.
Plan, Manage, and Automate Your Data Center Infrastructure with Nlyte
Nlyte’s DCIM software solution automates the management of all your assets, resources, processes and people throughout the entire lifecycle of your computer infrastructure.
DCIM software provides full visibility of all assets in a data center, allowing IT teams to monitor energy usage and receive alerts when thresholds are exceeded.
DCIM software also helps with data center design and infrastructure planning. You’ll be able to determine the optimum placement of new hardware. This translates to more efficient data centers, lower operating costs, and increased productivity.
Department of Homeland Security’s Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) Program’s, Phase 1 criteria
Key Features of DCIM Software
Asset Lifecycle Management
Real-Time Data Collection
Automated Workflow and Change Management
Bi-Directional Systems Integration
Audit and Reporting
Every asset in a data center facility has a limited lifecycle. DCIM software lets you monitor the performance of existing assets over time and measure them against established benchmarks.
Detailed information about assets and environment
Robust dashboards and reporting
Flexibility to work in any environment
Support for goods receiving, provisioning, changes, tech refresh, decommission
Nlyte’s DCIM software facilitates capacity planning. Understand current capacity and visualize space for new servers to meet future requirements.
Visualize space, cooling, power, network connections, storage and virtualization
Proactive versus reactive data center management
Accurate data center lifespan prediction
DCIM software lets you monitor system utilization at all levels and determine exactly much energy individual components are consuming. This lets you identify and locate stranded servers that are costing your business.
Track power, cooling, CPU usage, and alarms
Integrate real-time analytics into Nlyte AI Machine Learning and third-party systems
Avert bottlenecks with global visibility of worldwide operations
Data centers undergo frequent changes as new equipment is added and old hardware is decommissioned. Nlyte’s DCIM software lets you manage these changes and optimize resources for ongoing workflows.
Coordinate activities across independent departmental resources
Ensure change management requests are compiled correctly and in a timely manner
Eliminate communication gaps between facilities and IT
Nlyte’s DCIM software offers end-to-end visibility of all assets, becoming your single source of truth between facilities and business systems.
Automate change to the data center floor for physical Install/Move/Add/Change processes
Deliver end-to-end visibility of time & costs
Automation of physical assets to CI reconciliation
Visibility of physical connectivity dependencies
Virtual to physical dependency mapping
Nlyte’s DCIM software provides in-depth reports and visual dashboards that allow you to make strategic decisions about your data center.
Complete logging of all asset changes
Assurance proper configuration was executed according to request
Automated reports reduce hundreds of man hours for manual process
Identify KPI performance instantly
How DCIM Software Helps You
Asset Management From the receiving dock to decommissioning, Nlyte's DCIM software maximizes the production value of your assets over time. Capturing change at its source, facilitates timely onboarding of equipment at the time of receiving through to the decommissioning of older equipment.
Workflow Automation Optimize your resources and personnel with measurable, repeatable intelligent processes making individuals more efficient. Support cross-team assignment for multi-team tasks. Extend the adoption of ITIL and COBIT into the data center without any additional development or services.
Bi-lateral systems communication Nlyte becomes your single source of truth for all assets sharing information between Facilities, IT, and business systems.
Infrastructure and workload optimization Designed to support your operation efficiency goals and reduce the number of ad-hoc processes at play in your data center. Unlock unused and under-utilized workload, space, and energy capacity to maximize your ROI.
Space and efficiency planning Forecast and predict the future state of your data center’s physical capacity based on consumption management. “What if” models forecast the exact capacity impact of data center projects on space, power, cooling and networks.
Risk, audit, compliance, and reporting Power failure simulations and automated workflow reduce the risk of the unknown and human error. Audit and reporting tools improve visibility and help achieve compliance requirements.
Schedule a Demo See how Nlyte’s DCIM can help you manage your data center infrastructure and optimize its efficiency throughout its entire lifecycle.
“We deferred a data center build for about $20 million… and saved 7% in operating costs…with Nlyte.”
James Cribari Global Infrastructure Services Development Manager
“At one point we had over 50 different tools. By the time we initiated the DCIM project we still had 24 discrete tools we were using, 4 of them were from a previous niche level DCIM provider...After the Nlyte implementation, we are down to 5 tools the team uses.”
John E. Miller, Senior Technical Staff Member Infrastructure Management and Vended Services - IBM