5 Steps to Determine if You’re Dealing with an Outdated DCIM Tool

“Why should we upgrade or replace our DCIM software when it’s working just fine?” This is the most frequently asked question in discussions about how well suited the current software is for current and future requirements.

This thinking is a common mistake. The fact is, outdated tools put your reputation, your data, and your daily data center operation at risk. Here’s why…

There is a plethora of helpful apps and tools available to scan your computer and indicate if you have a security breach or if you need new software. There are no such tools to tell you if your DCIM software is adequately doing its job. Given the criticality of managing data center infrastructure, having an up-to-date system that can meet evolving requirements should be a top priority. That begs the question, what are the indicators that signal it is time to examine whether the software in use is still meeting your current business needs?

According to the innovation adoption lifecycle, there are some early adopters who will always use the latest technology or software that is available. This group leaps before they look so such indicators are irrelevant. For everyone else – the early and late majority and laggards – change is difficult. They will look long and hard at their current situation and evaluate options carefully before overcoming their reluctance and moving to a new solution. This group can start by asking themselves five questions. How they answer will determine whether it’s time to start evaluating different solutions with more relevant capabilities to better meet current and future needs.

A simple self-evaluation will reveal if your DCIM tool should be updated or replaced.

When was the last major software update? If it’s been more than 2 years, that’s a major red flag your software needs replacing. Technical requirements are constantly evolving, and software needs to keep up with changing requirements. Ask to see the product roadmap so you can reasonably assess whether you can rely on the software for the foreseeable future. Think about your current business and the current market. Can your current software handle increasing data traffic, meet latency demands, leverage hyperscale data centers and/or offload parts of your data center management to the cloud? If not, it would be prudent to start researching alternatives.
How does your current management system support automation? Cost pressures force data center managers to entrust more and more tasks between the same number of technicians. In other words, do more with less. But to do so effectively ultimately requires, at some point, automation of recurring workflows. This leaves more important tasks to staff relegating less demanding and monotonous activities for machines. Automation capabilities are therefore an important consideration.
How does your current management system support integration? If your system lacks APIs and other data exchange capabilities, you’ve got a big problem. Data is your most important asset. If used wisely, it can boost daily performance, energy efficiency and be a driver for your business value. Having an overview based on comprehensive data in one central management platform and fed by third party systems keeps you in control. For this reason, interaction with other systems and data sources is a necessary capability for any DCIM software.
Does your system produce detailed, meaningful reports and analyses? Are you able to show the business value of your data center to senior management? Can you clearly articulate how your data center contributes to the organization achieving its objectives? This is easily accomplished with accessible, comprehensive data to calculate business value KPIs.

Accept when it is time to look for something new

The decision to replace an aged DCIM tool is often met with resistance. Common objections include:

• The software has been in use for a long time and is important for day-to-day business operations.
• Users are accustomed to specific functionality and associated processes. No one wants to change processes, therefore no one wants to change the tool.
• If the current software works it doesn’t need to be replaced.
• The application has grown over time and contains valuable knowledge that might get lost, and no one will assume that risk.

These are just a sampling of reasons not to change DCIM software. The bottom line is often managers will delay the replacement for as long as possible. While of course there are some benefits of remaining with a long-standing DCIM tool, these are often outweighed by the negatives. Such software has to be continually developed and updated so data center managers are able to cope with today’s requirements.

Remaining with the status quo is risky

If you have been nodding in agreement with the issues listed above, you probably have some ideas about what you would like to do differently. That’s good! Since you are already aware of the risks posed by your old system, you understand the need to migrate to a long-term, sustainable DCIM solution.

If your boss and colleagues aren’t on the same page and need additional convincing, following are some financial and qualitative arguments that can help erase any lingering doubts they may have:

Rising Costs: It costs a lot more to maintain an aging system than an up-to-date standard software.
More Restrictions: Older systems are less flexible and adaptable, which makes them harder to maintain. Any necessary adaptations to meet new requirements are costly and complex.
Increased Risk: Security gaps make the system vulnerable with respect to external attacks and threaten the continuity of the ongoing operation.

Things will not improve on their own. Doing nothing creates serious consequences, while investing now to stay on track sets you up for success.

Effective project planning is key to success

It will require effort to replace an existing DCIM system with new software, but you don’t need to do it on your own. Some vendors (such as FNT Software) offer supplemental services to support you throughout the entire life cycle.

A quality vendor will provide expert advice about what you really need, the best approach to implement DCIM software and how to make it a smooth transition. They should be able to design an implementation and data migration strategy tailored for your needs that will ensure operational capability and acceptance of the new solution.

FNT provides a full range of supporting services, backed by over 25 years of experience working with customers of all sizes. Get more information and download our free white paper or contact us today.