In recent years, data centers have experienced booming growth, both in physical size and in importance to businesses. Not only is there the business data itself to consider (such as sales records or customer databases), but there are also increasing amounts of facility operational data to manage (such as power consumption, temperature, and humidity controls, rack space, and more).

As data center challenges become more complex, companies are turning to data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software for essential and effective monitoring of their enterprises. Three main areas where DCIM is most helpful are visibility, availability, and capacity planning.

Increased Visibility: As a business grows, data center challenges include keeping track of assets. DCIM software can provide you with a centralized inventory of all your equipment, including servers, networking devices, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, generators, and more, across multiple locations.

Whether you’re adding a new server or a new facility, you’ll have a holistic view of your entire infrastructure. DCIM also provides real-time, up-to-the-minute information on the current status of every asset, so you can monitor factors such as energy efficiency across the whole operation or down to a specific room, rack, or server.  These solutions will also keep track of changes to an asset’s configuration, such as whether a server has been moved to a different room or whether upgrades have been installed.

Maximized Availability: Maintaining availability and avoiding downtime are additional data center challenges you may face. The monitoring functions of DCIM allow you to take a proactive approach by identifying potential issues before they cause downtime. If a UPS battery is close to failing, for example, or a server is about to shut down because of overheating, you’ll receive alerts via phone, email, or pager in time to resolve the problem.

With a Web-based DCIM solution, you can remotely monitor your operations and receive status updates from any location, at any time. You can keep an eye on all aspects of the power and cooling chains, and you’ll be able to chart performance and environmental conditions over time to spot trends and take action to improve efficiency and availability.

Improved Capacity Planning: Data center challenges also include getting the most out of your resources. Operators sometimes “over-provision” or build redundancy into their systems in an effort to protect uptime, but that can waste money and energy. With DCIM, you can measure factors such as power, cooling, and connectivity requirements as well as physical space, so you can answer questions such as “Can this rack hold another server?”

You can thus optimize your capacity while making sure you don’t exceed system limits. Not only can you save money by using the full potential of your existing resources, but when it’s time to add new facilities, you’ll have the necessary information to design the most efficient layouts.

These are just a few of the data center challenges that DCIM software can solve. Perhaps the biggest benefit of DCIM is the money it can save your company. In a recent Tech Validate survey of 100 users of Schneider Electric’s DCIM software solution, StruxureWare for Data Centers, 38% of respondents estimated their overall cost savings since deploying StruxureWare at between 31% and 40%, with an additional 31% reporting savings of 21% to 30%. With that much potential financial benefit, can you afford not to use DCIM?