For the past three weeks I have been living on the road with my travels taking me from Seattle to New York and from Florida to Chicago. I have had the opportunity to meet with customers in many vertical markets including Banking/Finance, Retail, Healthcare, Technology as well as several CoLo providers. Each time I have been in front of current and potential new customers I find myself consistently engaged in two topics: Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) and Energy Consumption/Savings. One of these topics is relatively new while the other has been very visible for quite some time. Regardless, both are clearly top of mind for most customers across all markets. So, what are they saying?
DCIM: The Topic of the Moment
Is it here to last or simply the latest in buzz words? In speaking with customers and partners I think it is here to last; however, I also believe that with the significant number in this space. From companies who truly offer DCIM solutions to others that simply claim to be – there will have to be some consolidation. In fact, I had heard from Gartner that in the past 18 months the number of companies claiming to be in the DCIM space has grown from 22 to 65.
The good news is that with the sheer number in the space there has clearly been the creation of a market buzz and well as likely validation of the space. It is apparent that the majority of customers that I speak with have an understanding of DCIM; however there seems to be a wide range of those that are simply kicking the tires and those that are in the middle of a DCIM implementations – at least in the purest sense. Regardless, I concur that DCIM is here to stay.
Another interesting and consistent trend is that most customers realize that the DCIM solutions are using static information as it relates to physical asset and environmental monitoring data. Therefore this is a perfect opportunity to introduce them to RF Code. With our real time asset and environmental data that can be fed straight into DCIM solutions – we are perfectly positioned to augment and enhance any DCIM solution adoption. Additionally, given the fact that the DCIM implementation cycle tends to be complex, thus time consuming, many customers see the value to adopting RF Code’s solution now and gaining immediate benefit has great value. So, when an organization does chose a DCIM solution they have the immediate ability to feed it with real time data – which puts them well ahead of the curve and provides them with incremental value over a standard DCIM implementation. In fact, as of today, RF Code has integrated with many of leading DCIM applications via our open architecture. I am certain we will continue to hear more about DCIM in the coming months.
The second most “common theme/topic” during these past three weeks. Actually, it has been talked about for the past couple of years but seems to have picked up incremental steam - is reducing energy costs. I realize this is not new and I know that we have seen the stats and charts showing the costs of power and cooling outpacing the cost of hardware; however it seems like companies are finally taking actions to realize costs savings.
Of course, I have been amazed at learning of an organization's energy bills that are in the millions and then walking into the data center that is colder than my favorite beer cave at the local supermarket. Additionally I have been perplexed at the lack of monitoring in those facilities. In fact, I was in one that was about 75,000 sq ft of raised floor that only had a few monitoring points on some structural columns and under the CRAC units.
With the densities increasing you can’t effectively increase set points and ultimately save energy if you are only macro measuring. The rack is the microcosm of the data center and needs to be accurately monitored. To that end, one of the most engaging topics I have had the opportunity sharing is Rack Temperature Index (RTI) and Rack Cooling Index (RCI). If you want to learn more about these metrics please see http://www.ancis.us/rci.html.Better yet, check out "New Metrics for Data Center Cooling Optimization," RF Code's webinar featuring Dr. Magnus Herrlin, a leader in the area of thermal/energy management in data and telecom centers and the developer of these innovative metrics.
Regardless, I think the point that resonates with most customers is you can’t manage what you can’t monitor. Granular monitoring is the key to saving money and RF Code’s wire-free environmental monitoring has been a huge value to customers. With our peel and stick, inexpensive sensors, customers can have an integrated, granular data center environmental monitoring solution at a fraction of the cost of a traditional wired solution.
There is nothing better than getting in front of customers from all over the world and talking about our solutions that can significantly improve the way they manage their critical facilities and the equipment that reside within those environments. With a week off of the road, I can’t wait to get back out there soon. Next stop Florida and Washington DC.