In March various members of the Cormant team presented Cormant DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) at Data Center World San Antonio, TX, USA and Data Center World London, UK. Over two days at each event we met, literally, hundreds of people and had some great conversations. The DCIM (and beyond) interest at both shows was greater than we have previously seen, and in many cases those conversations were with people who already knew why they want DCIM. This is certainly a change from a few years ago and perhaps in part a reflection on the market maturity we are starting to see. I’d like to think the Cormant team did a great job explaining why Cormant-CS provides the best solution to customers. Cormant-CS provides a complete feature set in an easy to use web and mobile based system supported by full consulting, implementation services and training. Cormant boasts satisfied customers from 2003 who still maintain and regularly upgrade their Cormant-CS system. I think this is pretty remarkable, given how many “DCIM” solutions have come and gone in that time.
We do still get the question, “Why do I need DCIM when my team is managing our current data centers with spreadsheets?” This is best summed up by a large company I spoke to at one of the shows who admitted they recently did an audit of their racked equipment and equipment in storage and found 18% of the equipment they audited was not in use or had never been used. The equipment found was either not powered, had no live data connection, had crashed long ago, or was not being used as the applications had been migrated off the machine. In some cases the servers were still brand new, in-box, in a store room but were now a generation or two behind what they use. I did tell this company they were far from alone and in over 15 years we have yet to find more than two or three companies who stated their data was almost perfect and actually had no significant data issues when an audit was done. Cormant advises that the initial DCIM implementation goal is to get current data into the Cormant-CS solution and at the same time put processes in place to drive DCIM use and increase data accuracy over time. Adoption is often easy as people actually want a system they can get value from (rarely the case with spreadsheets). Providing useful data to management and other teams is typically what drives expanded use and further rollout.
Thanks to everyone who talked to us at the events, we really appreciated the conversations. We are looking forward to catching up with the many new contacts we made in the coming weeks.
As a newby to the DCIM industry and a recent onboard as a Cormant Software Solutions Consultant, I am honored to have the opportunity to share my experience learning and applying the Cormant-CS software solution to my first project à Document the Cormant HQ Office in San Luis Obispo, CA using the Cormant-CS software solution with approximately 14 days of experience under my belt.
Now, I believe I weigh heavy on the analytical side and have a keen ability to utilize my resources efficiently when tasked with a complex project in a professionally unchartered industry. With a busy Q4 wrapping up, I was introduced to the Cormant-CS Web and Client via the robust User and Admin/Config Training Manuals, given login credentials and a go-ahead to get started!
Let’s first step back and understand the limited level of my experience and knowledge in the DCIM industry and how I was able to balance that with my extensive experience in SaaS, technical sales, software applications training, complex implementation planning, functional engagement and end user documentation. By further operating with a methodical mind and a process oriented approach, I was able to piece together the puzzle of unknowns and could “phone a friend” when needing a resource. I analyzed samples of the Cormant-CS Client and Web to build my custom asset tree on the Cormant-CS Web and started my DCIM journey of documenting IT infrastructure, learning how to create a hierarchy of organization, learning to identify unknown components by being proactive and curious, and understanding what devices can be connected to what, many learned through well versed error message pop ups in the programs workflow. The Client facing side of the software program allowed me to master template creation feature, easily adding subcomponents and building attributes to customize the available options for completing my project, though much of the Cormant-CS Client has now moved to the Web. The latest version release, v9.1 has almost removed the desktop client entirely.
I’ll admit I ran into many challenges yet the Cormant-CS software is streamlined in such a way that a new user can easily follow the bouncing ball to understand the processes involved in making the necessary, methodical changes to continue the documentation and organizational process. I used a mix of the handheld device, the web and desktop client application, to fully document the Cormant office. The handheld made tracking the inventory of racks, switches, patch panels, servers and other office components simple through the rich mobile application and barcode reading feature. I wrapped up the project with a lesson on connections, making cable and power connections not only within the web application but also via the handheld with ease and fulfilling short cuts.
I was also able to configure reports on the CS Web to determine which assets/components were missing barcodes to better complete and log my asset tree. The handheld device was a fluid mirror of what I saw on the CS Web platform and the convenience and security of having that device in my “data center” was second to none.
In short, this was not only a DCIM exercise but also demonstrated how Cormant-CS is able to work in campus type environments to document office and multiple building campus environments.
I further was able to intuitively created new user profiles and permissions on the Admin side and custom tailor my landing page at login, which I found very handy.
In conclusion, the software suite is extremely user friendly and intuitive. The UI is simple and feature rich with the training manuals and coordinating exercises being very educational to a new user who is onboarding with the Cormant-CS software solution. As a result, I was able to document the entire office IT infrastructure using practical application to not only manage the configuration but also document at such detail that any new future change needed could be easily tracked, recorded and updated with ease. If you look closely, you will find that I was able to document the office components and related connections all the way down to a Christmas cookie tin in the lobby area. For the record, they are shortbread.
By: Irina Astrom
Software Solutions Consultant, Cormant