The key to properly managing a facility involves knowing not only what your data center does, but also what tools it’s using that you are depending on daily. Knowing whether you need a BMS or a DCIM system (and in most cases both), for example, is one of the keys to making sure that your facility is well positioned for the future.
BMS and BAS
BMS and BAS are two acronyms that describe building management systems and building automation systems, respectively. These two systems are responsible for monitoring elements like power, heating and cooling systems, lighting systems and more. These types of deployments are incredibly robust and are made up of a series of standardized software platforms, communications protocols and other integral elements.
A building management system both monitors and grants a certain level of control to the total infrastructure of a building, though it is primarily focused on those types of systems that are using the most energy at any given time. A detailed BMS can monitor the temperature on every floor of a building (or even every room) and adjust heating and cooling systems as necessary for proper temperature regulation.
A building management system is also responsible for monitoring equipment in central utility plans like cooling towers, water temperatures, power draws and more.
Building automation systems, on the other hand, are responsible for certain automatic actions that are necessary to maintain a proper balance within the facility as a whole. A BAS may automatically shut off the lights in the building at night, for example, or automatically adjust window shades as the direction of the sun changes.
DCIM vs. BMS and BAS
DCIM is an acronym that stands for data center infrastructure management. There is no standard design for these types of systems and they are usually designed on an as-needed basis. A DCIM can be as simple as a system that monitors the power strips in a particular cabinet or as robust as an all-inclusive monitoring system for your data center. The specifics will depend entirely on the organization in question and its needs moving forward.
While a BMS may monitor the parameters of a major system, the DCIM will provide trend information to help identify areas where preventative maintenance may be necessary. The volume of information required by a DCIM would completely overwhelm a BMS system, which is one of the many reasons why having both a DCIM and a BMS or BAS is so important. A DCIM will also accomplish many things that a BMS can’t, like electrical phase balancing, temperature and humidity monitoring of rack and cabinet temperature, cabinet security and more.