Strengthening DCIM in the Data Center

It’s 4 a.m.; do you know where your server is? It is not uncommon to lose track of the physical location of your server. In his latest blog, Blake Van Scoy discusses this issue and a possible solution to better knowing the location of physical assets.

stregtheningDCIMIt’s 4 a.m.; do you know where your servers are? Seems like a funny question to ask, but in today’s large and complex data centers and IT facilities, it’s a valid one. Many servers run for years without being touched by human hands. With the ever-changing work force, it’s not uncommon for a new IT manager to not know where some servers are physically located.

Some organizations provision server names with location information and many use spreadsheets, but how can you be certain that information is up to date? Did the facility change names during a merger or acquisition? Did the machine get moved due to a rack-and-stack operation? All these things happen every day and it’s easier than you think to lose track of the physical asset and its associated cabling or patching.

If your organization is using an AIM-based Intelligent Connectivity Management solution – either on its own or as an integral part of a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) suite – these questions are easy to answer.

Automated infrastructure management (AIM) is an emerging ISO/IEC standard that defines the management of structured cabling, patching, and network connectivity – one of the most vital resources of any data center. An intelligent connectivity management solution leveraging the AIM standard is an ideal tool to automatically track patching activities and report all changes to the physical layer. Network devices can communicate with switches and routers to update location-based moves, adds and changes (MACs) as well as IP or server names based on the physical layer information. This offers decision makers real-time visibility into the status and disposition of connectivity changes as they occur.

An AIM-based intelligent connectivity management solution should be considered an integral part of any best-in-class DCIM suite to strengthen the intelligent, real-time management of physical infrastructure.

With a true DCIM suite solution, users have comprehensive command-and-control over both IT and facilities resources. Any data point can be fed into the suite or from the suite using open, industry-standard interfaces and protocols. Data can be collected, aggregated, managed and visualized in real time from virtually any source. It is a software suite, unrestrained by hardware legacies or point products that constrain data exchange.

Is it time to count the switch ports? Can you image going into work every day and having to count all the open switch ports in the data center? That’s a real job and people do it every day. As MACs take place in the data center, the IT organization must keep track of switch port availability. One way to do that is to manually count ports every day.

What if there was a better way of documenting the physical layer? Why not let an intelligent connectivity management solution automatically watch the patch connections and track the MAC work – working either as a standalone system or integrated within your DCIM environment?

When commissioning a server, why not let the system guide the technician where to place the patches? The same applies to server decommissioning, ensuring the correct patches are removed. This helps eliminate potential downtime issues due to human error while making sure you no longer have stranded switch ports that are consuming valuable switch capacity.

What about a system that can report when the switch port was last active so the IT team can be confident about pulling a patch connection without disrupting service? The alternative is to pull the patch and see which group complains about the outage.

Whether you need to repair the asset or just comply with an audit, knowing the physical location of the device will save hours of searching for it at 4 a.m. Life is better with intelligent connectivity management and DCIM working together.

If you have a question about how Intelligent Connectivity Management can help your organization track connected assets in the data center ­– either alone or as part of a comprehensive DCIM suite – please leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

Also, be sure to check out this video for more information about the advantages of using CommScope’s iTRACS® DCIM platform along with the imVision® Intelligent Connectivity Management solution based upon the emerging AIM standard.