Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) specialist Nlyte Software, which just announced the integration of its data center service management (DCSM) solution with Tableau, believes its time the data center got its services act together. “The data center in many ways is sort of a cowboy going its own way,” said CMO Mark Gaydos. When it comes to ITSM the data center is the last frontier, he said.
In a lot of places data center administrators are still using spreadsheets and Visio drawing tools. Nlyte calls it Phase 0 – Managed Chaos and keeping the data center running tactically – of the DCIM Maturity Model, and where most companies are today. The other phases are:
Phase 1 – Information & Application Consolidation;
Phase 2 – Process Optimization;
Phase 3 – Strategic Data Center Planning & ITSM Integration; and,
Phase 4 – Automation.
Gaydos said their customers drove them to this integration. “At a high level, people are saying data center has to be part of ITSM and ITIL.”
In July Nlyte, which has been selling DCIM software since before the term came into existence, introduced three DCSM solutions – Nlyte for BMC ITSM, Nlyte for HP ITSM and Nlyte for ServiceNow ITSM – that combine DCIM, workflow capabilities and integration into ITSM solutions. “DSCM not only bridges the divide between DCIM and ITSM, but it gives enterprises full control and visibility of data center processes, not just from the data center perspective, but even more importantly, from the purview of IT,” said Rob Neave, Nlyte CTO and co-founder , in a prepared statement.
CA Technologies has been working on the next stage of DCIM for more than a year, what 451 Research calls datacenter service optimization or DCSO. Last October Analyst Rhonda Ascierto noted that CA wanted to take DCIM higher by combining it with other management tools.
‘We and others believe this type of DCSO approach will become increasingly common for end-to-end datacenter service management, including costing and best-execution management. CA is developing these and other converged capabilities and interfaces as part of a substantial, multi-year investment. It is a strategy that is ahead of the market. CA could be early with an integrated DCIM-ITSM tool, but it is not likely to be alone.’
According to 451, there are more than 60 DCIM players in the market (and another 100-plus ITSM vendors), with the large datacenter equipment companies – Emerson Network Power, Schneider Electric and Panduit – leading the pack. In addition to CA and Nlyte, competitors include ABB, Siemens, Raritan, Huawei, CommScope (iTRACS) and RiT Technologies.
CommScope and HP recently partnered to blend DCIM and ITSM. Raritan even called DCIM a subset of ITSM when it announced a ServiceNow integration.
Adding DCIM data to ITSM can improve performance and availability across the data center and yield new granular information about the true cost of running an IT service, said Rhonda Ascierto, a research director for data center technologies at 451 Research, after the July launch. “Ultimately, these and other integrations with DCIM data will enable greater automation — the ‘software-driven data center.’”
Converging the two helps position DCIM as a hub for the entire picture, making for easier cost justification, she said. “In ITSM by itself without DCIM data companies are making guesses or simply not factoring in the cost of the physical data center layer — the critical equipment, space, power, and so on — that IT services run on.”
At a recent Nlyte webinar, The Essential Missing Piece Of ITSM: DCIM, 451’s Andy Lawrence, VP Research, Datacenter Technologies, talked up the merits of a more inclusive platform than separate DCIM and ITSM silos. “The next big step in the evolution and deployment of ITSM and DCIM is for them to be tied closely together, with DCIM integrated as a component of, or complement to, ITSM. When you combine these systems, you create end-to-end data center service management….”.
He said some of the benefits of bringing the two together include:
-operator time: deploying and locating assets;
-management have complete view of all assets, problems;
-over-provisioning: better matching of IT to facilities use;
-inefficient servers removed, licenses eliminated;
-better conformance with service level agreements;
-faster recovery of failure that involves IT and facilities; and,
-premature/unnecessarily adding data center capacity.
There are a lot of DCIM tools available, but they didn’t cover the gap of physical devices and what’s going on with them, said Nlyte co-founder and CTO Rob Neave. ITSM doesn’t go down to that layer, that’s where DCSM comes in, he said.
Initial customer response to DCSM has been strong, said Gaydos. “From an IT perspective, we have it all covered.”
That’s not to say there still isn’t a lot of work to be done, added Neave. “It’s increasing the capability within ITSM… this is an evolutionary growth set that is going to continue to grow.”
Gaydos breaks the company’s focus on three areas: information, then workflow, people and processes, and third is you being to get into incident management and ultimately get into automated management… “that’s the end game that it’s completely automated”.