Why your CFO needs to meet your IT department

Finance geeks and tech geeks rarely meet.

But they should, and here's why: It would do wonders for a company’s carbon footprint, not to mention its budget, for the finance department to start paying attention to the IT department. Reducing IT’s energy consumption is synonymous with cutting costs -- and carbon.

CFOs, meet Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM).

DCIM, the centralized monitoring and management of all IT equipment and functions, can lead to energy savings that reduce a data center's total operating expenses by up to 20 percent, according to Gartner Research. Thanks to the detailed monitoring afforded with the implementation of DCIM, data center managers are able to continuously measure energy use and make real-time analysis and adjustments as needed, enabling safe operation at higher densities. Under-utilized/comatose servers are a major energy and cost consumer, and when they are identified and eliminated with the help of DCIM, that equals more money for the company.

DCIM is extremely effective in bridging the gap between IT and facilities. However, DCIM is not just an IT and facilities tool. A third user should be a part of the equation: the CFO. CFOs often sign off on DCIM purchases, but rarely engage post-installation.

Improving physical infrastructure planning and management can save significant amounts of energy, capital and operational costs -- all important factors to a CFO. CFOs can also use DCIM to help their companies become more energy aware through public dashboards with key performance indicators.   

During Schneider Electric’s recent investors’ meeting earlier in 2012, it was the finance folks who were most intrigued by the DCIM presentation, which outlined just how vital this software can be for making important business decisions in critical environments. But what exactly does DCIM do?

DCIM software tackles the following operational functions in a data center:

• Monitors and manages all physical equipment in the data center, providing up-to-date inventory;

• Provides a global view of available capacity within an organizational context, giving an instant calculation of actual space, power and cooling consumption, power and network port availability and floor and rack weight limits against overall data center capacity constraints;

• Gives instant server placement recommendation through real-time analysis of available data center capacity, including power, cooling, u-space, network and power ports, capacity strategies, weight limits and more;

• Generates an audit trail for all changes to assets and work orders for a specified range of time, including a record of alarms raised and alarms removed;

Next page: Stopping "zombie" servers in their tracks