Three Tactics to Successfully Deploy Your DCIM Software

Written by Nate Josephs

Sr. Systems Engineer/Data Center Manager
In the previous Tips from a Data Center Manager blog, I discussed how to pick the right DCIM product and how to compare costs.  Once an organization overcomes the challenge of picking the right software, they face additional obstacles when deploying DCIM.  The following is the third and last article in the series on DCIM where I discuss common reasons why DCIM implementations “lose steam” and fail.  Also included are three tactics to make implementation successful.

Focus Gets Lost – Data center teams perform routine operations and resolve emergencies.  They do data center walkthroughs and perform facilities maintenance tasks regularly.  They also respond to unexpected incidents, and complete multiple service tickets with tight deadlines.  This mix of routine tasks, emergencies, and service tickets can easily pull a team away from deploying DCIM.

Tactic #1 – To maintain focus on implementing DCIM, dedicate a staff member full time to the deployment and make this implementation their top priority.  If this isn’t possible, consider hiring a contractor to do the bulk of the data uploading, training and integration.  DCIM vendors often have these resources readily available.

Implementation is Overwhelming – Approval to purchase DCIM is often granted because of so many great things DCIM can do from facilities functions such as monitoring, capacity planning, trending ops data, and inventory to integrating with CMDB’s, ticketing systems, IT asset management systems etc.  DCIM can also help achieve an ROI by identifying underutilized servers, performing financial analysis, and supporting chargeback.  With so many things DCIM can do, implementing it can be overwhelming.

Tactic #2 – To make DCIM implementation more manageable, follow the advice “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  Determine which one or two features are most important yet can be implemented quickly.  Then, focus all efforts on deploying these features first before moving on to other features.

 DCIM Data is Unreliable – Multiple people may have access and allowed to install equipment within the data center.  This causes the DCIM team to be unaware of all moves, additions, and changes (MACs) and their attempt at creating and maintaining accurate DCIM data becomes a losing battle.

Tactic #3 – Ensure DCIM data accuracy by enforcing strict policy where only the data center team responsible for DCIM’s accuracy is allowed to physically rack, un-rack, and cable equipment.  They would also be the only ones allowed to update IT equipment physical rack or U locations and cable connections within DCIM.

DCIM Deployment can be challenging.  It is easy to lose focus with so many routine operations tasks, unexpected emergencies, and urgent service tickets to deal with.  Implementing each feature can become overwhelming, and keeping DCIM’s data accurate and up to date is difficult.  These challenges can be overcome by dedicating one staff member to DCIM deployment, limiting deployment to just one or two features initially, and by enforcing a policy where only the data center team can make changes affecting the DCIM data.  These three tactics will help you deploy your DCIM software successfully.