Data Centre Intelligent Automation and Management Innovation of the Year
The requirement for innovation:
DCIM has become a term that is considered tarnished by many. Generally, it has failed to deliver on the promises made and in many cases is merely a beefed up BMS or overpriced Asset Register!
The reality is that there can be no genuine DCIM system unless it covers integration with the IT stack. Ultimately the IT load is the reason for the data centres existence so a true DCIM needs to cover more than just the building alone. With this integration the so called DCIM solution will merely be an overly complex and therefore overly expensive Building Management System or an unnecessarily weighty asset register.
To highlight this point, it is worth noting that the categories for the DCS awards are split into the traditional data centre silos somewhat reinforcing this separation. RiT seeks to eliminate these unhelpful boundaries with its XpedITe platform in order to achieve a fully integrated data centre infrastructure, removing the current barriers to efficient data centre operations and service delivery.
Since the introduction of the DCIM concept to the general market over a decade ago, many changes have taken place in the data centre and infrastructure sector, as the concept struggled to mature. Nevertheless, experts are still predicting a 16% growth to 2024 with a forecast market value of over $3bn.
Moreover, the move towards distributed, digital infrastructures and hybrid environments has been one of the most significant shifts, which necessitates the overview and orchestration of infrastructure environments across multiples sites.
Aligning IT and facilities management for a complete view of the infrastructure, can always be a challenge. However, XpedITe’s full-stack integration capability gives the customers a true Single Pain of Glass to manage all infrastructure from the energy supply to the CMDB.
RiT’s solution and product description:
There is a reason that DCIM hasn’t been more widely adopted and flourished. It has gained a bad reputation for many reasons, but the functionality promised for DCIM and yet be delivered is necessary to help us manage ever more complex, hybrid environments, so is still very much a need for tools to fill this vacant niche. These newer smarter and more integrated tools need to connect to facilities systems, network systems, IT systems and orchestrate continual change within a modern highly dynamic data centre environment. The metamorphosis of DCIM from a nascent set of disparate and siloed tools to a fully-fledged, integrated and comprehensive management system for all data centre elements is more accurately reflected in the term DNIO: Data centre, Network and Infrastructure Orchestration.
RiT Tech have brought together multiple areas of expertise within separate disciplines, focusing on feedback from multinational clients. Areas such as asset management, integration, speed to implement, and time to value have been common areas of complaint for traditional DCIM products, which need to be rectified for a product to be usefully adopted.
RiT’s DNIO approach and concept addresses the complaints common to existing DCIM products and has a data-centric focus allowing flexibility and fully bespoke configurations, which deliver maximum efficiency via full-stack integration in an open framework.
As pioneers in Automated Infrastructure Management (AIM) and intelligent connectivity, and more recently in facilities and IT management, RiT’s pioneering R&D Centre in Israel is the birth-place of AIM - Automated Infrastructure Management, which now forms the basis of the ISO standard ISO/IEC 18598. RiT Tech are now applying this structured standardised approach to DCIM with the DNIO platform.
The DNIO concept builds on the foundations of DCIM, and addresses the three major challenges that IT and Data Centre leaders face today:
1. Increasingly complex, inter-connected, hybrid environments becoming difficult to manage.
2. Uptime and availability risk for smooth DC Operations.
3. Efficiency and cost reduction for maximum business agility.
Having an accurate and updated inventory of the IT and data centre assets is the foundation of any DCIM solution which can effectively manage the MAC (Moves, Adds, Changes) process in a data centre. XpedITe includes a full asset management module, a full patch and connectivity module, and a very powerful work-order capability, which integrates into a multi-environment workflow, to help manage staff and resources to maximum efficiency in the data centre.
Capacity management is also a very significant element of data centre management, spanning the full stack from the grid supply to the network port. Having a trustworthy, automated source of capacity and load information, such as XpedITe’s intelligent commissioning capability able to perform capacity management and planning, saves technicians up to 70% of the time taken to find available space for new installs. XpedITe also provides full visibility in terms of monitoring, managing and controlling IT & electro-mechanical devices for more effective utilisation of both.
RiT Tech also provides an Open Framework for integration with other systems, such as linking asset management to the central ERP system. As part of the installation programme, the joint team ensures that the technologies and business processes are working in harmony across the full spectrum of data centre operations.
Having a cross-functional system, which streamlines processes across departments and centralizes the data from multiple disparate systems, enables the possibility for preventative maintenance of critical systems. This minimises the cost of any failures, and alerts when conditions have been hit where failures have occurred in the past.
Customer example and case study:
This submission seeks to address the current situation and highlight a Data Centre, Network, Infrastructure and Orchestration (DNIO), platform that actually delivers on many of the unfulfilled promises that have been made for DCIM by demonstrating the features already available within the XpedITe solution and also by referencing an extremely successful project completed during the latter half of 2019 for a very well-known international financial services organisation, which was based entirely based on the XpedITe solution.
The international financial services corporation has multiple data centre sites and decided to migrate its primary data centre to a new remote facility. Up until this point the customer did not have any form of DCIM solution at the primary site.
As part of this migration project it was concluded that a suitable DCIM system was required to address the specific needs of the relocation. These are detailed as follows:
1. The ability to manage the remote site in terms of both building infrastructure & IT elements, without the need for a constant presence on site.
2. The ability to optimize, plan and monitor all activities within the data centre, including building infrastructure components, cabinet power supplies, all deployed IT equipment, power and IT connectivity as well as any other equipment present.
3. The ability to ensure all information security and prevent any potential data leakage.
4. The ability to integrate to a CMDB as well as power and security systems.
5. The ability to co-manage other secondary sites using the same system (e.g. DR sites).
The customer chose the XpedITe DNIO platform as the preferred DCIM solution, for the following key reasons:
1. The XpedITe DNIO platform was the only system to offer a complete end-to-end solution, which fully covers both building infrastructure and IT needs without undermining or neglecting either one of them.
2. A modern, flexible, state of the art technology platform (HTML5, Angular2, GOJS etc.), capable of rapid, fully functional and easy integration with existing specialist toolsets.
3. Comprehensive and easy-to-use Single Pane-Of-Glass User Interface.
4. Highly integrated capabilities and knowledge.
5. Flexibility of R&D adjustments to rapidly accommodate customer needs.
6. Support from a dedicated and committed professional team with intimate knowledge of the toolset and the specific customer deployment.
7. Backing from a global technology leader with a widely recognised and trusted brand identity (Intel).
1. Required a highly condensed timeframe.
2. The customer has never used a DCIM system before. Therefore, there was no corporate strategy, regulations, or guidelines referencing DCIM.
3. The new site was not similar in any way to the current legacy data centre, in terms of size, structure, complexity, installed equipment or daily operations. Therefore, the structure and planning of the DCIM environment needed to be developed from the outset.
4. Many aspects of the project scope and Statement of Work (E.G. equipment deployments, integrations and future plans), were not known initially, and had to be developed or adjusted as the project progressed.
5. Integration to CMDB, power equipment and existing sensor and monitoring systems, had to be performed and these systems were installed or acquired by the customer.
6. The broad and fully-integrated feature of the XpedITe platform and the ability to introduce, adjust and deliver the XpedITe DNIO platform in such a dynamic way encouraged the entire customer team to fully embrace this platform as the primary management system for the new data centre.
Competitive position. Alternative products were not able to:
1. Genuine integration capabilities – Mainly to CMDB and existing monitoring tools as well as previously installed equipment.
2. Easy and seamless implementation of the customer’s rules and policies within the platform as a fundamental part of several workflows
3. A real single pain of glass that gathers both the facility and supporting mechanical and electrical infrastructure side as well as the network connectivity and IT deployments.
4. Real time functionality across all installed equipment (Building, Network and IT).
5. Planning and capacity planning automation
1. The project was led from the customer’s side by the integrated IT infrastructure team (including system, network, database & building facility personnel).
2. As a prerequisite, all customer assets (present and future), were mapped using the CMDB, IT system configurations, or by manual audit.
3. RiT Tech completed this integration to the customer’s CMDB as well as power and security systems, according to a condensed project schedule.
4. More than 200 catalogue items were created or modified according to customer requests or requirements.
5. The entire site infrastructure of the data centre from cabinets, through to all installed devices down to the last patch cord and network connectivity were created and set in the system.
6. Dashboards, reports and company rules were created and customized according to customer requirements.
7. Sophisticated algorithms were written to enable comprehensive, end-to-end, automatic provisioning of any moves, adds or changes.
8. Thorough training was conducted to the different user groups and viewers of the system.
1. The customer will use the XpedITe platform for fully comprehensive asset management of all assets (IT and Facility), within in all data centre sites (local and remote).
2. According to the new company regulations all moves, adds and changes of any equipment, and any changes in infrastructure within all corporate sites, will be conducted and implemented solely through the XpedITe DNIO platform.
3. Automatic planning for moves, adds and changes of any devices using company rules, developed algorithms, work orders, change control support and required equipment labelling.
4. Real-Time monitoring and alerting of all installed equipment and connectivity across the entire inventory in all sites through the use of bespoke customer dashboards notifications.
5. Real-Time monitoring and alerting for power, environmental conditions, changes and trends using integration through the Power & Thermal Telemetries module.
6. XpedITe is now being used not during the operational phase but also for future planning and relocation projects.
7. Existing sites were audited in order to plan the new site, and then migrated over. All target designs are all held within XpedITe and used to manage the migration.
8. All planning and design as well as implementation is done using XpedITe, allowing for accurate and fast new plans and rapid migration.
9. XpedITe has a fast import for floor layout, and configurable, intelligent layers to provide consistent visibility across the customer’s infrastructure, all of its data centres, and people spaces.
RiT Tech provides an Open Framework for integration with other systems, such as linking asset management to the central ERP system. As part of the overall programme, the joint team are working together to ensure that the technologies and business processes installed deliver the following benefits:
1. Intelligent Commissioning saves around 30% of resource time per IMAC ticket
2. Unlimited Integration enables the full-stack functionality, real-time management and true integrated workflow
3. Real-time management allows up-to-date information and enables better decision-making
4. Reduced operating cost from energy usage effectiveness and efficiency
5. Having a complete view of the power draw and energy consumption of the IT and data centre assets together
6. Consistency and visibility across the enterprise and all of its data centers
7. Providing a real-time view of energy consumption and energy efficiency of the entire data centre
8. Help both IT and facilities managers work together to make more informed decisions about overall energy usage, operational and workflow optimisation
9. Full visibility in terms of monitoring, management and control of IT and electro-mechanical devices for better utilisation of both elements
10. Support in calculating the cost of delivering individual services from the data centre
RiT Website: https://www.rittech.com/rit-software