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Building a case for datacentre infrastructure management
Measuring, monitoring and maintaining a data centre has often been viewed as a purely technical project. Business value can be significant - and explaining this can unlock budget for DCIM investments.
By: Quocirca
Published: August 2010
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Measuring, monitoring and maintaining a data centre has often been viewed as a purely technical project. Business value can be significant - and explaining this can unlock budget for DCIM investments.

The data centre is becoming a point of focus for businesses as the inefficiencies of old-style architectures have started to be unearthed. It is important to be able to communicate the benefits of a fully-managed data centre to the business, and the following areas should be covered:

  • IT architectures are changing - yet existing assets must be sweated
    A "rip and replace" approach to the data centre is not viable under current financial conditions. Fully understanding the asset base is necessary in order to ensure that full lifetime value is being gained from the individual IT assets available.
  • Energy costs will remain unpredictable
    Ensuring that energy usage is fully understood enables optimisation of energy loads, both at the IT hardware level and in data centre cooling. Using optimised power and cooling designs can provide rapid payback and greater technical flexibility, with enhanced green credentials as a bonus.
  • Introducing new hardware and software rapidly and effectively is critically important
    As markets change rapidly, organisations must be able to adapt to the changes. This requires better agility from IT, and the capacity to introduce new hardware and software into existing platforms has to be made more effective.
  • Avoiding building a new data centre can be a massive cost saver
    Many organisations are close to exceeding the capabilities of their existing data centre, through space constraints, lack of power or poor design of facilities. In many cases, DCIM can be used to avoid this issue, maintaining business support and providing a more flexible platform for growth going forward.
  • The business needs to be able to ask "what if?": DCIM enables an answer to be provided
    IT has to be seen as more flexible in how it can support and facilitate business. Understanding the true capabilities of the IT estate means that future states can be considered, and real responses and advice provided back into the business.
  • Quick wins need to be part of longer term aspirations
    Organisations are searching for areas that have a fast and positive impact to the bottom line. Anything that is seen as having an ROI that is too long will not be high on priority lists. Therefore, messaging needs to prioritise benefits by timeliness, not necessarily by overall long-term payback.
  • Wherever possible, all messages need to be worded as supporting a Total Value Proposition
    The business is looking for changes that lower costs, mitigate risk and/or maximise value. Building a business case around these three areas will enable a greater chance of true communication with the business, and of project investment being made available.

Conclusions
Building a business case for DCIM should not be a technical process. Benefits have to be worded in ways that the business will understand, and prioritised in a manner that allows the immediate and short term value to be easily understood. Using a Total Value Proposition approach means that a series of hard-hitting, business-oriented messages can be constructed so that a DCIM project can be more easily agreed with the business.

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