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Are DCIM-based cloud offerings a game changer for data center management?

24 Feb 2017

Commenting upon Schneider Electric’s StruxureOn cloud-based data center monitoring service, Rhonda Ascierto of 451 Research says the offering signals a new wave in facility operations, using a combination of machine learning, anomaly detection and event stream playback to give operators real-time insights and alarms via their smartphones.

In a report entitled “Schneider’s DCIM-driven cloud service: a game changer for data center management?” the analyst says that StruxureOn promises data center operators real-time operational visibility, alarming and shortened resolution times without all of the costs associated with deploying an on-premise DCIM system.

Predictive services which are still in development may be the killer app for StruxureOn users, according to the analyst.

While StruxureOn’s monitoring, alarming and some of its analytics could potentially compete with Schneider Electric’s class leading StruxureWare DCIM platform, the two offers are well differentiated and have very different price points, the standard online package starting with a free trial period. In fact, says Ascierto, the two approaches “interoperate and coexist.”

Monitored data is sent from the customer’s premises to the Schneider cloud via its StruxureWare Data Center Expert tool which is currently deployed by about 15,000 global customers.

Ascierto says that the company has leveraged this base by retrofitting the tool as a virtual StruxureOn Gateway that encrypts and makes ready the monitored data.

Due to its origins, the current data lake is heavily Schneider weighted says Ascierto. However, since StruxureOn is a vendor agnostic offering, as its user base increases the information held in the data base will become more diverse and granular and therefore more useful.

The standard StruxureOn service includes real-time equipment and environmental monitoring, as well as alarming and alarm management. Users can click to reveal information such as network address, serial number, location, cooling demand and output, supply and return air temperatures etc.

Noting that data center operators invariably have a mobile device about them, the standard service has been developed for Apple and Android smartphones.

The mobile application can also track a user’s physical location inside a data center in order to expedite real-time trouble shooting. The app also facilitates online chat and “click to call” access to Schneider Electric technicians, currently for the company’s equipment only.

Upgrading to the Premium version of StruxureOn enables users to access all standard information, plus data and analytics on client devices.

These include incident tracking, historical trending, remote troubleshooting, operational analysis of power and cooling devices, as well as recommended actions which take into account data from utility grid and power monitoring services as well as weather data.

In her analysis of Schneider Electric’s strengths, Rhonda Ascierto points out that the company’s equipment is present in almost every data center built.

“The company’s brand is strong,” she says, “and its reach and capability are global. It is a strategically oriented business that has invested heavily in software, software development and services.”

Article by Damien Wells, Schneider Electric Data Center Blog

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