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Tier44 — A leading developer of Data Center Management solutions on ServiceNow

Tier44 — A leading developer of Data Center Management solutions on ServiceNow

Data Centers have become very important for businesses across the globe. It has become essential for every company to improve business agility with up-to-date information available anywhere, anytime to the employees. Realizing the importance and dynamism of data, companies are embracing well-equipped Data Centers to facilitate better data management. Tier44 Technologies is a Premier ServiceNow Technology Partner and leading developer of Data Center Management solutions for large enterprises, government agencies, and managed service providers. We interviewed Clemens Pfeiffer, the President and CEO/CTO of Tier44, to understand more about the company and its services. Here are a few excerpts of the interview:

Q. Can you take us through the company’s journey right from its beginning to the point where it unwaveringly stands today?

Tier44 was started in 2014 to capitalize on existing intellectual property and patents by a team experienced with data centers and their operating procedures, leveraging the success of ServiceNow and its solution as the cloud-based IT Service and Operations Management platform of choice. ServiceNow has expanded quickly and is now the market leader in service management, as it makes the world work better for people irrespective of circumstances. Using ServiceNow and applications built on ServiceNow, employees can be productive wherever they are.

Tier44 provides ServiceNow certified solutions for IT, employee, and customer workflows needed to manage Data Centers, power, space, networking, and IT infrastructure. We call this “making data center work flow”: enabling digital workflows to increase resilience, optimize the use of data center assets, and enhance employee productivity as it relates to managing the data centers and their content.

More than 6,200 organizations worldwide use ServiceNow to drive their digital transformation. Standalone tools are being dropped in favor of standardizing on ServiceNow for all workflows – no more external systems, no multiple CMDBs, no siloed applications, and no broken workflows. Organizations are re-platforming as many workflows as possible onto the ServiceNow platform and expanding the use of ServiceNow.

It is now time to include the data center in the ServiceNow roadmap, regardless of it being a co-location, owned, or hosted environment. Workflows governing capacity planning, installation, monitoring, maintenance, and decommissioning can be moved into a ServiceNow environment enhanced with the Tier44 EM/8 DCIM application.

At the virtual Data Center World in August 2020, PayPal presented their reasoning for using ServiceNow and Tier44 for data center management. They also used an example of asset management & audit workflow providing savings of 20,000 man-hours per year. Everyone can achieve similar results as Tier44 is building more and more cost-effective functionality as applications that are easy to buy from the ServiceNow store and fast to roll out across the organization.

Q. How is Tier44 different from other Data Center Management solutions?

Data Center Management solutions or DCIM applications have been in use for a long time. They are targeted applications focused on a single set of functionalities, most often with friendly graphical interfaces to visualize data center floor plans and racks, allowing to add equipment using drag-and-drop and 3D graphical capabilities. However, all such tools have their own database, their own user experience, and support a limited set of users due to their complexity.

As we have seen with other tools when organizations deploy ServiceNow, they move away from the graphical use cases and standalone applications to the more workflow-centric use cases as that is one of the core features of ServiceNow. With DCIM, it will be the same as organizations get familiar with ServiceNow. They will move workflows into ServiceNow for capacity planning, purchasing, installing, decommissioning, and adding functionality for events, alerts, incidents, tickets, and asset audits.

To make such a transition easier, Tier44 is building applications for ServiceNow that provide more of the DCIM functionality out of the box. Such applications are built directly on ServiceNow, validated by the “Built on NOW” certification. Tier44 sells these applications via the ServiceNow store, integrating directly with various award-winning ITxM modules from ServiceNow such as IT AssetMgmt, IT ServiceMgmt, IT OperationsMgmt, IT BusinessMgmt, and IT RiskMgmt; all areas where ServiceNow is a market leader.

By using ServiceNow, organizations achieve an integrated workflow, single user interface, and easily extendable environment. It also means that each Tier44 element, such as a rack view or a floorplan, can be used for graphical navigation to quickly see where assets are along with space, power, and network capacities. All views and modules can be used as components in any other ServiceNow-based workflow, e.g., to select a RU position or a rack on a floor plan in a capacity planning or procurement workflow.

The second major difference is price. Tier44 applications are sold via the ServiceNow store for a flat monthly subscription fee. With ServiceNow providing the scalability, Tier44 applications carry a single price point per application – no per user, per rack, per device fee – one price, unlimited use, within that ServiceNow instance as the application is identical if used for a single server or 1M servers.

Even without Tier44, organizations should be aware of all the “out-of-the-box” DCIM capabilities provided by ServiceNow as a service management platform that can easily replace most functionality of other DCIM solutions. When analyzing the capabilities, organizations will see that there are missing parts specific to managing and operating a data center, which is the area where Tier44 comes into play. Tier44 exists to provide the missing functionality and helps organizations leverage existing ServiceNow capabilities to maximize the value of ServiceNow as it relates to managing and operating data centers.

Q. What future capabilities do customers ask for?

Organizations ask Tier44 about a lot of functionality; some are typical DCIM capabilities, some are features from other systems, some are already implemented in ServiceNow as part of the platform or an add-on module. Tier44 constantly updates its roadmap to make sure ServiceNow capabilities are not duplicated. Instead, the focus for Tier44 is to provide missing elements to support end-to-end data center workflows that provide great ROI and beautiful user experiences.

As a Premier ServiceNow Technology Partner, Tier44 prepares its applications for future releases along with the ServiceNow roadmap (for example, with workspaces and mobile apps), so customers can be sure to get more functionality as Tier44 extends capabilities in a way that customers don’t have to choose between ServiceNow and Tier44.

Today, Tier44’s main application is adding graphical visualization of data center racks, floor plans, and buildings to ServiceNow, along with capacity aggregation and planning workflows for space, power, and network capacity. Additional applications, leveraging the main application, extend existing ServiceNow capabilities with data center specific capabilities like monitoring the IT and Facility infrastructure of a data center, integrating results with ServiceNow event and incident management.

Datacenter hardware asset management provides easy-to-use barcode scanning capabilities for hardware audits and the ServiceNow asset management capabilities. Trends towards AI augmented reality and more automation are next on the list for organizations. With further improvements and capabilities of the ServiceNow platform, Tier44 can leverage such core components and tailor them towards data center-specific workflows that organizations can install rapidly.

Q. Where do you see the future of Tier44?

There are multiple areas where Tier44 sees an opportunity for change in the way data centers are managed and operated that provide a great ROI and improvement of the application reliability:

  • Automation of repetitive tasks — There are a lot of manual tasks in the day to day workflows performed by site technicians, data center analysts, and planning people that can be automated, allowing them to focus on higher-value tasks that require them to make decisions or perform physical changes that can not be automated. Automating repetitive tasks can eliminate human errors, speed up the process, and increase the operation’s quality.
  • Utilizing AI — AI and virtual and augmented reality will soon be more than a niche idea in managing data centers. So far, it’s more out of curiosity, but soon use cases will improve troubleshooting, planning, resource allocation, and other steps along the life cycle of data center equipment.

  • Energy management — While significant improvements have been made on the data center facility side, reducing the cooling power required to run a data center, the same can not be said on the IT side. IT capacity is still provisioned to not exceed 80% utilization during peak demand, with a second set of capacity running in another location. All equipment is always on, no matter if there is one user or a million users at any given time. Why not turn off servers when they are not needed? Why not running a server farm with a 20% capacity buffer instead of all servers on all the time?

Tier44, with its patented Digital Employees® for task automation, is in an ideal position to address the needs of organizations today as it relates to data center management using ServiceNow and also future trends and requirements as it relates to using the ServiceNow platform as the platform of choice for data center management. If history has taught us one thing, it is that native application on successful platforms are the ones that survive and will be appreciated the most; and that’s exactly what Tier44 is providing today – certified applications to enhance ServiceNow, so it is useful as a platform for data center management.

Meet the President

Clemens Pfeiffer is the President and CEO/CTO of Tier44. He started his professional career at Hewlett-Packard in Germany, first in a central European support role and later in a more pro-active consulting role for compiler and database technologies. Subsequently, his role expanded to workflow and business process automation technologies helping multi-national corporations with enterprise business process reengineering initiatives and implementation technologies.

After leaving HP, Clemens started his first company and created a business process automation platform and web-based application environment. In 2007, he co-founded Power Assure as CTO, utilizing the automation technology for energy management of data centers, demonstrating power consumption reduction by over 50% for large-scale load-balanced application environments. In 2014, Clemens and several other Power Assure co-workers started Tier44 Technologies and acquired all intellectual property, patents, software, and most assets from Power Assure to take the technology to the ServiceNow ecosystem by building a data center management solution on the ServiceNow platform.

“By utilizing Tier44 award-winning products, data centers, owners, and operators can achieve ultimate application reliability using holistic data center management rather than isolated facility and IT hardware modules.”

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