Top DCIM Evaluation Questions

When evaluating a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) Solution or an IT Infrastructure Management (ITIM) System we beleive these are key questions you should ask, both yourself and your supplier to assist in your DCIM evaluation.

Ask the Vendor

  1. How many years has the vendor been selling the solution, is this a new entry or a well established solution?
  2. Does the vendor really manufacture and sell the solution to encourage you to become locked into their other equipment or are they truly independent of influence?
  3. What success has the vendor had across industries? What industries? What are their measures of success?
  4. If the vendor also sells hardware, have they sold to customers that do not use their hardware?
  5. Does the system provide scalability & flexibility? What does the future hold and will it meet your business needs in three years time? Five years time?
  6. How does the vendor handle change management?
  7. Is it easy to document/retrofit to existing installations?
  8. How does the vendor  manage mobility with online and offline capabilities?
  9. What kind of maintenance/skills/training does the system require?
  10. Does the vendor support the system in all countries your company operates in?
  11. How much does the system cost? What is the Return on Investment ROI))?
  12. What future enhancements does the vendor plan for the product?
  13. What level of self-discovery does the system have? Is network discovery easily configurable and can it automatically discover network changes?

Solution Implementation

  1. Does the solution come with a broad, multi-manufacturer set of equipment templates?
  2. Will the system let you configure the information elements you want to store or are you limited to a fixed or limited configuration set supplied by the vendor?
  3. Does the system support AutoCAD, Visio and picture format import of floor plans?
  4. Is there full support for XLS/CSV format import and export of data?
  5. Is the system flexible enough to support your preferred process and work practices?
  6. Will the solution manage any type of IT equipment and, in fact, non IT equipment if required?  Can it manage work-space areas and campus environments as well?
  7. Does it manage every aspect of the IT environment including power and data connectivity, all equipment, locations, spaces, racks, desks, conduits, loads and capacities?
  8. Are all aspects of the system user configurable, or does it require the vendor to make the change?
  9. Does the vendor solution include an alerting system that any user can subscribe to?
  10. Does the solution support an inbuilt scripting language (at no extra cost) to allow you to extent the systems abilities yourself?
  11. Does the system support a user configurable MIB database and full read/write SNMP/WMI scripting (at no extra cost)?

Using the System

  1. Does the system have an intuitive GUI for users who will be using the system infrequently?
  2. Is the user interface easy to navigate? Is the information shown logically laid out and complete without being confusing? Does the system show the infrastructure in a clear and logical way?
  3. Who within the organization will benefit from the installation? Does the system have features that will be useful to multiple departments, not just IT, including finance and facilities management?
  4. Will the system be able to assist with your organization green activities?
  5. Does the system offer an open We services XML API?
  6. Can the system store historical data both from SNMP/WMI and internal values?
  7. Does the system include (a no extra cost) a custom report builder?
  8. Can custom reports be scheduled and e-mailed directly users?
  9. Is there a dashboard available for status updates and other data?

Keeping the system up-to-date – Trust in data

  1. Does the solution support a portable handheld that allows complete add/update/read of all data stored in the system? If so:
  2. Does the handheld need Wi-Fi or does it work off line so information can be accessed anywhere?
  3. Does the handheld optionally work with barcodes to make equipment identification as easy as a scan of a serial or asset number?
  4. Does the handheld system support inventory management functions for areas such as store rooms?
  5. Does the handheld system support graphical rack and floor plan views?
  6. Does the handheld system have full audit capabilities so that audit assurance of data is possible?
  7. Does the system still require paper to be printed for change orders, etc or are they fully supported by the handheld?