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New data center tools manage 'epidemic of disorganization'

There are ways to combine DCIM and ITSM systems in the data center that give even better visibility.

A growing segment of data center tools helps combine the capabilities of DCIM with ITSM principles.

These new data center tools, such as the emerging software known as data center service management (DCSM), can help manage capacity and help business leaders know what resources are available and the best way to use it all.

"It's a conversation starter for the C-level executive," said Jennifer Koppy, a research director at IDC in Framingham, Mass.

The goal is to eliminate the "epidemic of disorganization" in the data center, Koppy said.

Enterprises often start with a data center infrastructure monitoring and management (DCIM) product to solve one or two specific problems, and then later begin to see a greater connection to the rest of the data center. The one thing that differentiates the newer DCSM products from other tools such as IT asset tracking software is, according to Koppy, the ability "to help users figure out their cadence of growth and plan for future capacity needs." The term DCSM may be a more accurate label for some of the more advanced DCIM tools, she said, noting the DCIM label has been widely applied and in many cases may be a misnomer.

For IT shops, combining DCIM and IT service management (ITSM) is an end goal, but something they haven't achieved yet.

The latest vendor to enter the mix is San Mateo, Calif.-based Nlyte Software with a tool that combines DCIM with workflow management and ITSM with connections to three partners: Nlyte for BMC ITSM, Nlyte for HP ITSM and Nlyte for ServiceNow ITSM.

Schneider Electric SE and Emerson Power Systems have also developed DCSM tools.

At the IT level, people are recognizing we need a full connection -- from virtualized servers to where we plug our racks in.
Jennifer Koppyresearch director, IDC

"More and more, at the IT level, people are recognizing we need a full connection -- from virtualized servers to where we plug our racks in," Koppy said.

The new DCSM product from Nlyte, released this week, helps put together the steps and track how long it takes to complete jobs in the data center.

The combination of a DCIM and ITSM means the software provides "action steps" that can record measurements and highlight areas of improvement.

"At the end of the day, you can come up with your [service-level agreement]," said Rob Neave, CTO and co-founder of Nlyte.

With traditional systems, enterprises can lose money when equipment sits idle at a loading dock or gets assigned to the wrong project. With a DCSM, managers can watch where an application is deployed and where it is connected, for example.

"We can help IT make better decisions when they are adding and subtracting devices in their environment," Neave said.

Tools that go beyond the basic goals of a DCIM can have a great influence on automating tasks.

"It is only the most aggressive data centers that have gotten there," Koppy said. "Opening up that visibility is more than just knowing the [power usage effectiveness] PUE."

Nlyte's latest products are sold on a per-rack basis, and the company's customers range in size from 50 racks to 35,000 racks. It is priced from $200 to $500 per rack.

Bob Gates is a news writer with TechTarget's Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. Contact him at rgates@techtarget.com.

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