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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: The Value of Data Center Infrastructure Management with Suvish Viswanathan, ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corp.

December 5, 2012 No Comments

There is no question that Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) systems have increasingly become an invaluable part of the Data Center industry.

In the below interview, Suvish Viswanathan of ManageEngine outlines ways in which DCIM has come to play an integral role in the evolution of the modern Data Center, and offers  solutions to some of the DCIM challenges that businesses are facing today.

Q. Many believe DCIM is just about power/energy management; what do you think DCIM is all about?

A. In its early days, Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) was known just for power or energy management. It was considered an offshoot of green IT initiatives, meant only for a few basic energy management drills. But with today’s business demands and complexity in IT infrastructure, DCIM has evolved far beyond energy management.
DCIM today is managing all IT assets that are within the datacenter. IT assets sit at the heart of the datacenter, and to keep the operations up and running, it is imperative that these assets are managed from the root level. A true DCIM is about physical infrastructure management, facilities management and systems management — integrated from a single solution.

Q. How do you see the DCIM market evolving in coming years?

A. With the private cloud getting all the attention, DCIM will get a natural push. “Datacenter” holds a different meaning for different organizations. For social media companies like Facebook or a telecom company like Verizon, a datacenter is like a factory that is generating something that can be sold. A direct business co-relation can be framed for this set of users.

There is another set of users whose datacenter supports or runs thousands of various applications that support their day-to-day business. This set of datacenter users needs a DCIM tool that can bring a business angle to their datacenter. A business angle can be incorporated into the DCIM solution by integrating a proper knowledge base into the solution, which can do asset management from a centralized CMDB. This way, each asset can be deeply monitored and assessed. A holistic solution that can bring real-time visibility into systems management, physical infrastructure and facilities management from a single console is required. Today, the need for such a solution has risen in the market. Recent high-profile datacenter outages have occurred due to a lack of visibility; nobody wants to be in the same position.

Q. What challenges do you see in DCIM today?

A. As acceptance of DCIM grows, several of today’s challenges have to be addressed; they include:

1)    Business demands: Businesses today are demanding, and the dependency of these businesses on IT is more than ever before. The biggest challenge is to keep the always-on services up and running.
2)    Silo’ed management: The traditional approach is to use silo’ed DCIM tools to address a point problem. These DCIM tools can never give a holistic picture connecting the relationship between IT assets.
3)    Integrated approach: Bringing the facilities, systems and physical infrastructure management under one console.
4)    Cross-vendor support: Heterogeneous vendor support is another main challenge which we see in many DCIM tools. They support only a specific list of hardware vendors and are not flexible to configure other vendors.

Q. How will ManageEngine address the DCIM market?

A. ManageEngine has been building IT management products for the past 10 years, addressing the various needs of systems management with over 25 products targeting point solutions.

We saw the need for an integrated solution that can bring real-time visibility to the IT management team. That’s when we introduced IT360 into the market. We have been adding features to this solution to give our users an out-of-box pre-integrated experience. We are making this solution a complete DCIM-ready solution. DCIM consists of two main sections:

a)     IT that includes: servers, storage, virtual machines and network equipment
b)    Facilities which include the monitoring of all power, cooling and energy devices

IT360 manages the entire IT division with an ITIL twist. We included a pre-integrated CMDB in the product. This helps organizations to maintain a single database for all IT assets, assets within the datacenter and also the ones that reside outside the datacenter.  On the facilities front, currently IT360 can monitor all the SNMP- enabled facilities.

Capacity planning to avoid what-if scenarios is available with ManageEngine’s solution. The major advantage with IT360 is the ability to integrate with other ManageEngine solutions. This makes the product completely flexible. In the future, we will also be adding workload automation, already available in ManageEngine OpManager, to this product. Our goal is to make IT360 a holistic DCIM solution.

Q. What are the key benefits your customers see in ManageEngine solutions?

A. ManageEngine has been addressing the needs of customers from all segments. We have products that are a fit for small businesses as well as enterprise level scalable products which are for mid to large enterprises with distributed architectures. A few of the key benefits common across our customers are:

a)    Ease of use and deployment
b)    No professional services required
c)    Out-of-box pre-integrated solutions
d)    Reduced time-to-market
e)    Reduced operational cost

Q. Can you provide a few examples of businesses that have had success with ManageEngine?

A.  We have more than 65,000 valued customers who are using at least one ManageEngine solution. IT360 customers who use the DCIM solution include Redstone and DORMA from the UK, Intraa and PrimeHealth care from the U.S., EMAAR and Commercial Bank of Dubai from the Middle East region, and Infosys and Firstsource from APAC. There are more than 160 customers worldwide who are using IT360 to manage their datacenter or IT infrastructure that is outside the datacenter.

Suvish Viswanathan is the Sr. Analyst at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corp where he manages the product marketing department for its enterprise IT management solution offering. He plays a key role in addressing various issues and solutions in enterprise IT with decision makers and organizations on increasing their IT productivity. Prior to ManageEngine, he worked as a global market/sales analyst for Syscon. You can reach him on LinkedIn or follow his tweets at: @suvishv



DATA and ANALYTICS , Fresh Ink

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