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Data Center Infrastructure Maturity Model
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Data Center Infrastructure Maturity Model 

Many organizations utilize process maturity models (e.g., CMM, Gartner) to assess their current level of IT process maturity, identify a desired state and build a gap analysis highlighting the areas of people, process and technology to invest in for better alignment with the overall business. Even more detailed models evaluate how organizations perform in relation to specific processes, such as IT Asset Management and other key domains. In conjunction with the development of these maturity models, Aperture has developed a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) maturity model to assist organizations in assessing their maturity in Data Center Service Management™ (DCSM™).

IT organizations must assess all aspects of process maturity, including DCSM maturity, in order to best deliver services to the rest of the enterprise. To be strong in all other areas, but weak in DCSM maturity will only limit an organization's ability to move to a higher level of IT effectiveness. Leveraging Gartner's model as an overall framework, Aperture's DCIM Maturity Model evaluates the maturity of the overall data center physical infrastructure, a domain that has been severely under-developed in many organizations.

Level 1: Ad-hoc/Manual
Level 1 IT organizations are characterized by little, or no, process maturity, with activities performed on a manual basis, no restrictions to data center access and a lack of adequate tools to document the data center physical infrastructure. As a result, these organizations cannot effectively identify data center assets, where these assets are located or how devices are connected without significant manual intervention. They also lack a documented process for reviewing changes; making it virtually impossible for these organizations to deliver reliable services to the business.

Level 2: Reactive
Reactive IT organizations begin to review changes and implement some productivity tools (e.g., spreadsheets, CAD files, Visio diagrams, databases, etc.), but still do not possess a holistic view of the data center infrastructure. Errors and disruptions resulting from problems with changes are commonplace, and troubleshooting remains a frantic process. These organizations continue to rely on the heroics of key individuals to maintain order. In some cases, these organizations monitor components of the data center, but cannot align monitoring tools with business services and are still reactive to problems occurring within the data center.

Level 3: Proactive
As an organization achieves Level 3: Proactive process maturity, established change management processes appear, processes for who has access to the data center is provided and the ability to track data center assets and configuration information emerge. The tools leveraged help track resources, but do not provide a holistic strategy that can accommodate across multiple data center or across all physical infrastructure domains (e.g., space, power, cooling, port connectivity, equipment and space). These organizations continue to have a fragment view of the data center infrastructure and continue to lack a service-driven approach where data center activities are aligned to key business objectives.

Level 4: Service
In Level 4, organizations formalize Data Center Service Management and integrate these processes with (data center) configuration management initiatives. A service-driven approach is taken where the data center group works with the business to determine the optimal level of service to offer with respect to acceptable operating costs. Operating Level Agreements (OLAs), capacity planning and charge backs for infrastructure services are adopted as these organizations move into Level 4 maturity. These organizations have the ability to take a financial perspective on managing capacity and assess the trade offs associated with allocating resources amongst competing projects within the business. They not only have a holistic view of the data center, but also integrate business requirements into IT services to align activities directly to key business objectives.

Aperture can assist organizations evolve along the DCIM maturity scale by establishing processes and implementing best practices to control data center operations efficiently and effectively. Learn more about how Aperture can help organizations increase their DCSM process.