Meeting Modern Data Center Needs with Hybrid Digital Infrastructure Management

Our Questions to Oliver Lindner

Enterprise organizations are experiencing rapid change, largely driven by digital transformation initiatives and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both require new thinking on how IT resources must be deployed and managed to support business-critical operations and the needs of remote workforces.

In this Industry Expertise Q&A, Oliver Lindner, Head of Business Line DCIM at FNT Software, discusses the evolution of data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and the emergence of hybrid digital infrastructure management (HDIM). He also explains why it is imperative for IT to implement a centralized HDIM solution.

Why is DCIM evolving into HDIM? Oliver: Traditionally, DCIM was sufficient for providing a holistic view of a data center’s performance to ensure that energy, equipment, and floor space were used as efficiently as possible. However, managing today’s data centers is much more complex due to virtualization, work from home initiatives, XaaS, and other digital transformation projects. Beyond DCIM, today’s enterprises require the capabilities of a HDIM solution to centrally control both physical and virtual assets and functions of IT infrastructure. Additionally, HDIM can help manage the physical and logical resources, connections, and dependencies that power the IT needs of business. In addition to IT infrastructure located on-premise, the growth of cloud and edge networks are requiring more sophisticated management and orchestration.
What is the difference? Oliver: Where DCIM encompasses the physical space, power, and cooling of data centers, HDIM additionally includes everything that is digital. When you think of the IT stack, or the physical, logical, and virtual “layers” that make up an enterprise’s technology environment, there is a clear delineation between what DCIM typically addresses as compared to that of HDIM. DCIM typically starts at the bottom, or the physical layer, whereas HDIM covers the middle with virtual or digital as the main focus. How should data centers position themselves to deal with this change? Oliver: Data centers shouldn’t ignore HDIM just because they’ve traditionally been responsible for physical infrastructure. I think there’s a risk of them becoming an obstacle or bottleneck. Hardly anyone of their users or customers is willing to wait for what are perceived as commodities. After all, time is money. If you take the example of a service consisting of physical elements in the data center and a cloud service, I can have one part ready in 15 minutes, but the network cabling takes weeks. If I can’t keep pace internally, the private cloud is doomed. Public Cloud is no longer an option, it’s a competitor.
What type of HDIM solution do you recommend? Oliver: Hybrid digital infrastructure management starts with an integrated inventory of all physical and virtual assets, and logical connections and dependencies, contained within a single repository that is accessible to all users throughout the organization. This data is the foundation for managing the hybrid infrastructure core. It should be vendor-agnostics and be able to support a broad range of IT infrastructure assets with a single data model. Interested in learning more about the evolution of DCIM to HDIM? Download our white paper here.

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