// DCIM - Facility Meets IT
DCIM is no longer just a hype word. DCIM is real and already considered a clear necessity due to the fact that technologies like Cloud Computing, PaaS, IAAS, DC consolidation and virtualization are already mature or will be there very soon. However, there is still no clear overall definition for this industry segment because over the last three years, DCIM as a market segment has evolved in different trends. Providers have enhanced their functionalities in different directions depending on where they came from originally. One example of this is how the big HW power equipment vendors have enhanced/merged their solutions towards Power Management by giving deeper insights into and analyses of the energy utilization of different systems, providing real-time power at device level and aggregating information into dashboards providing measurements like PUE and DCiE. Another trend on the market is the functional extension of existing BOM platforms driven by the facility departments. Very few pure DCIM suite vendors provide a broader view and are still lacking of functional depth in the different areas. Therefore, even now that the adoption rate is increasing by around 30 % per year, a high percentage of organizations still face the fundamental challenge of how to combine the functional and organizational discrepancies between IT and facility groups.
A simple example makes this more concrete:
The IT group does not necessarily want the central management console to resemble a facilities-type infrastructure management package, which may affect the operation and stability of a complex IT systems architecture. And the facilities side might not want the IT group’s server management software to control the chiller plant.
Datacenters are more and more becoming the strategic cornerstone of every enterprise, no matter if it runs its business in a purely private cloud environment or in a hybrid or fully public cloud environment.
The pressure on data center managers is increasing tremendously. DCIM helps improving the following::
These fundamental non-functional capabilities of FNT’s Command allow us to make the following unique statements:
1. We provide a system that delivers a multi-tenant system design, going down to the lowest possible level of any CI/component.
2. We provide a broad & very detailed component library that covers cross- functional components (IT, Facility & Telco equipment)
3. We provide top-down and bottom-up dependencies from each physical device up to the Business Service and vice versa throughout all three segments: IT, Facility & Telco.
The FNT Command Suite is currently the only product on the market that combines in a single source of information and within a single data model all required DCIM functions for facility teams and IT departments, and even goes one step further in providing key telecommunication functions relevant for every enterprise.
FNT provides a modular Software Suite for Facilities, IT & Telco infrastructure operations to enterprises, ISPs, MSPs, colocation service providers and public authorities. FNT‘s Command covers the business areas Data Center Infrastructure Management, Network Resource Inventory (Telco), Outside & Inside Plant Management (Network Management), within a modular and single-product suite all in one data model. With this design approach Command reflects the trend of merging disciplines within ICT (Facilities, IT & Telecommunication).
The modular approach enables every organization to start with its most relevant challenges, existing shortfalls and most beneficial areas of improvement.
In order to display any physical cable connections, all common cable types are stored in Command’s database. This functionality permits the documentation of the structured cabling of patch and fixed cables which in turn leads to a complete functional scope when representing cable connections. For example: patch cables connect terminals with junction boxes or patch panels with chassis. Fixed cables lead from the junction boxes to the patch panels as permanently installed cable routes.
In addition, Command provides plausibility checks that run on the medium (copper and glass) and the plug-in connections in order to prevent input errors. Moreover, functions such as the bundled cabling for simultaneous connections of multi-pair cables to several cabinets or the use of junction boxes are contained in the basic functions.
Signal tracing clearly presents all connected devices and cables with the most relevant data. A signal trace can be invoked from each port and this action can be performed in the actual and/or planned view for any inter-connection route. All important data for a route section are displayed in the route information. This includes the start and target object, the number of fixed and patch cables, the overall length as well as the total attenuation.
The Power Management uses the consumer information provided in the master data and represents the connection of the objects with the power source. This allows the calculation of optimum utilization, taking into consideration all required redundancies. In conjunction with actual measured data, the live operation renders a complete view of the actual operational situation.
Together with the power supply, the climate control is the second most significant factor for efficient data center operation. The Command data model allows the representation of climate control devices, climate zones, cooling circuits, etc. In this way, the FNT software provides all information for an exact climate balance – and so ensures the reliable, cost-optimized operation.
No matter if we talk about an enterprise running a single data center (DC) or multiple DCs with IT-rooms or if we talk about MSPs/colo providers or ISPs, the key to being able to manage operations flexibly and nevertheless in line with the business processes lies in having strong multitenant capabilities. The backbone of security-related topics within any cloud initiative is, to a great extent, the underlying multitenant design of the software managing the physical infrastructure of a cloud platform (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS). Unfortunately there remains a huge design and functional difference between the DCIM systems claiming to have a multitenant system. One of many examples to illustrate the importance of the necessity of a highly sophisticated multitenant solution is the clear trend within DCIM to run charge-back models within enterprises. This means that more and more CIOs & CFOs want to allocate the huge infrastructure costs to specific cost centers based on their infrastructure usage. Some MSPs define their SLAs based on usage/demand of multiple core infrastructure components. This means for example, that each customer is billed on the following basics:
The billing information needed to charge internally or externally -can only be provided on such a detailed and accurate level if the DCIM system is designed in a way that it provides the capability to manage any scenario within one instance for multi tenants. Each tenant might have different requirements and levels of detail in aggregating the information (port, PDU, storage area,…) Also the definition of a tenant has to be fully flexible (tenant could be a network group within one DC or a full enterprise customer).
FNT’s Command is specifically designed to scope with any scenario you can think of and therefore adapts to any business model without workarounds that will fail in the long run.
In Command, sites and locations can be managed across several hierarchically structured levels such as city / street / building / apartment unit. It is also possible to create parallel logical structures. This allows locations or rooms to be grouped according to their function. Command also allows the documentation and representation of technical rooms as well as street cabinets.
Command shows areas and rooms true-to-scale. This makes the positioning of cabinets easier, for example. With footprints, the software graphically represents the area utilization, the floor construction and the weight loading. It is also possible to illustrate multiple layers (e.g. floors, double bottom and ceiling).
Command contains an advanced CI / equipment library with more than 45,000 components from many different suppliers ready for download. Based on that library, the network nodes with all their physical and logical resource information are represented. A graphical rack editor provides a wide range of functionalities for the administration and management of network nodes.
Analog to the consumption values, Command determines the heat loading based on the manufacturer information. This can be accumulated for each cabinet, area or room. Thus, important information concerning the climate control of the data center is available immediately.
In addition to the manufacturer information for power and climate control, Command allows to update empirically determined values. Measured operational data can be imported into the system using standardized interfaces. Those values to be used for subsequent calculations can be quickly defined in configuration tables.
Planning is a basic functional area of Command. All objects and their status can be represented in the actual and planned view. This provides qualified statements about the planned status of the data center and allows efficient control of changes and work procedures with Command. This also avoids collisions of shared resources.
Command offers a comprehensive set of functionalities for the administration and management of a modern server infrastructure. The server management module covers servers (physical and virtual) with the associated OS environment (logical), including their relations and dependencies. Not only server clusters and storages, but also software products, software licenses, applications, and associated contracts, etc. can be handled.
This topic is complemented by a Command module that provides a wide range of functionalities for the administration and management of IP addresses (IPv4 as well as IPv6).
Command’s Telecommunications Solution is based on a network and service resource inventory model providing physical, logical, and service resource information in an integrated way. This allows the relationship between services, underlying physical and logical network resources, connected applications, customers, and other assigned information to be retrieved.
Command provides pre-integrations with solutions from different software suppliers, such as trouble ticketing systems, assurance solutions, workflow/provisioning engines, ERP solutions, measuring data tools, and even with systems at an element and network management layer.
One of the most important aspects in network and service resource management is data accuracy. On one hand, data reconciliation in Command is based on integration with the corresponding element and network management systems. On the other hand, Command provides an auto-discovery gateway for connection to external auto-discovery tools polling the network (pre-integrations available). The Command import mechanism is designed to manage large data volumes. The import can be user-controlled or automated and there is also a function for the transformation and normalization of data. In addition, comparisons of actual and target figures can be drawn. Moreover, Command provides a Command Development Kit (CDK) to perform any required project integration. The CDK contains a Web Service API based on SOAP. The API Web Service is defined as WSDL (Web Service Description Language) to allow messages to be exchanged on the basis of XML independently of the platform, programming language, and protocol.
The automation of end-to-end processes can be implemented based on these integrations. This allows, for example, highly automated service fulfillment processes to speed up service delivery, to minimize manual interventions and re-work, and so increases efficiency and productivity.