For years data center managers and CIO’s have been relying on data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software to manage data centers and plan out their growth requirements. They have used these DCIM tools and features to manage facilities, IT and more recently, virtual infrastructure. Looking at the evolution of DCIM software, one can clearly see that DCIM has moved beyond just monitoring facilities. In addition to better management and planning, DCIM has been instrumental in decreasing data center power consumption, which has resulted in a lower PUE for most enterprises.
As data centers become more complex and as the demand for more features in DCIM solutions grows, it is only natural that the next step for DCIM to take shape is in the cloud.
The cloud offers access to tools that provide much needed analytics and intelligence to meet the needs of today’s CIOs and IT managers. These include a high degree of automation for both facilities and IT, which is better served using cloud native technologies; mostly around machine learning and AI.
Is DMaaS the New Dynamic in Data Center Operations?
Uniting the best of hardware and software solutions, Data Center Management as a Service or DMaaS draws on cloud-based technologies to simplify, monitor, and service a data center’s physical IT infrastructure—from edge to enterprise. With DMaaS, CIOs get real-time operational visibility, alarm status, and faster problem resolution based on network-connected data sources, without the expense of an on-premise DCIM system.
The emergence of DMaaS solutions stems from the ubiquitous rise of ‘Internet connected’ IT physical infrastructure and the widespread availability of secure cloud services. Together, they enable silos of data to be analyzed like never before. The promise is that it answers as many problems as it addresses. It deploys quickly and inexpensively via a smartphone app, providing remote monitoring and a real-time window into the data center. Gone are the historic costs and complexities of data center instrumentation.
Leveraging a Sea of Data
As data centers increasingly tie into DMaaS, seas of data will aggregate from the full spectrum of diverse infrastructure used globally. When these vast reservoirs are tapped and subjected to analytics, the results can be employed to boost data center performance. One is again reminded that, in terms of big data, cloud-based remote monitoring offers benefits that far exceed point monitoring. An AI pattern, for example, can correlate a degraded port on a network switch to degraded response times for a group of virtual machines.
As DMaaS acquires and learns from connected devices, data center and IT managers are presented with increasingly more useful and timely information – real data that protects critical hardware via smart alarming and remote troubleshooting. It’s not hard to see how smart insights like these can improve both availability and efficiency. Consider as well, that data gathered can easily represent a wide range of operating and environmental conditions. This means that it will grow uniquely aware of maintenance requirements and equipment failure thresholds.
Comparing to DCIM
DMaaS grew organically out of DCIM. It answered the need to predict and prevent data center infrastructure incidents/failures, and to detect inefficiencies or capacity shortfalls. It emerged as a cloud-based vendor-neutral Software as Service (SaaS) architecture, one that will move data centers, edge, and hybrid IT environments into the next decade. Unlike on-premise and SaaS-delivered DCIM, DMaaS siloes and analyzes big data that can be enhanced with machine learning. It also dovetails cloud-based monitoring with maintenance and repair services, creating a full-service business model for suppliers.
In a nutshell, DMaaS differs from DCIM in its ability to easily and instantly access vast seas of collected data. The analytics derived from this data, gleaned from the “global cloud,” form the basis of machine learning and a higher level of knowledge within the cloud. This means that, finally, data can be accessed anywhere. Managers need no longer be on site or rely on VPN to assess a risk or bring the right people resources to bear on a problem or concern.
The Big Promise of AI
While still on the horizon, cloud-based AI-driven management software will soon monitor and control IT and facilities infrastructure. The goal is to exploit the power of AI to seamlessly monitor and control applications across multiple sites. AI delivers a wish list of control functions, monitoring and adjusting cooling, power, computing, workloads, storage, and networking to optimize efficiency, productivity, and availability. Sensor data drawn from thousands of sites will be subjected to cloud-based analytics to guide and implement preventive maintenance programs. Spare parts will be ordered, tested, and installed (robotically) as required to reduce failures and needless maintenance and testing.
While DCIM has its merits and has been enthusiastically adopted by many data centers, DMaaS cloud-based software serves to further simplify, monitor, and service a center’s physical infrastructure—from edge to enterprise. DMaaS presents CIOs with real-time operational visibility, alarm status, and faster problem recognition and resolution using the latest in cloud based AI platforms.