DCIM: What’s Ahead for 2014



As the data center becomes more complex, DCIM is becoming a key tool in making sense of the exploding universe of information.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is still in early stages, and still trying to find a clear identity. 2013 was a big year in terms of customer interest, and 2014 looks to be very promising. Here’s a look at what’s ahead for next year.

Clarification, Please

Customers are beginning to understand the value proposition of DCIM. Much like with what occurred with cloud computing, the DCIM landscape will become much clearer in 2014.

“Many DCIM vendors will become much more articulate about what they do (their value) and what they can deliver now,” said Mark Harris, Nlyte. “Prospects will vote with their dollars and essentially force DCIM vendors to focus on what they can demonstrate now. This may result in a bit less confusion for prospective buyers.”

“Part of what’s happening in the market, as the market is progressing, is there’s more clarity in terms what the customer is trying to achieve, and what vendors can and cannot do,” said George Brooks, senior vice president of Enterprise Product and Market Management at CommScope.

“With so many DCIM vendors in the market, everyone is struggling to define the essential value bundle – that sweet spot between what customers will actually use and what they will pay for,” said Troy Rutman, IO spokesperson. “We’ve placed our bet on a true data center operating system to manage and optimize the data center based on the real-time needs of applications. In 2014, we will see organizations increasingly looking to comprehensive software to enable dynamic shifting of workloads, integrate legacy and modular capacity, and enable sophisticated data analytics.”

Toe-Dipping on the Part of Customers

While the capabilities of DCIM are robust, customers will ease into DCIM.

“Customer prospects will spend more time thinking about the specifics of what results they need from a DCIM solution now,” said Harris, Nlyle. “They may use the term DCIM as a main project title, but they will also have a set of very specific goals that they wish to achieve in short order. The two biggest goals that end-users will be looking for are capacity planning at the physical layer as well as workflow support for operations.”

The Year of Analytics

“We have already seen how IT operation analytics are taking the IT management market by storm,” said Suvish Viswanathan, Senior Analyst, Unified IT,ManageEngine. “Analytics are very important for DCIM as they allow for more accurate what-if analysis based on more concrete data and not on assumptions based on static historic values. Improved analytics would also help in achieving a better understanding of the total cost of ownership (TCO).”

“Data centers are one of the most complex interconnected entities, if not the most complex, ever created by humans,” said Willie Bloomstein, iTRACS.”Staggering amounts of data sits in that data center environment. Turning it into actionable, meaningful information is part of the value of DCIM. We tend to approach from a strategic and open perspective. What we’re seeing with analytics, what we think customers are looking for, is looking for access to a full robust analytics engine, in a very organic and intuitive fashion. We’re announcing in early 2014 myAnalytics. We’re going to provide personalized, role based access to individual data reports. We believe that’s where analytics needs to go – give you an engine.”

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About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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  1. Jim Leach

    Great article Jason! Thanks for providing excellent insights on DCIM from some of the top providers. From a user perspective, RagingWire has been running its data centers for years using our home-grown N-Matrix DCIM system. It's core to our operations. In 2013, we enhanced the data collection, normalization, and reporting capabilities of N-Matrix with plug-ins from CA Technology, Schneider Electric, SynapSense, TrendPoint, Power Assure, Canara, and others. In 2014, we plan to make operational data available to our colocation customers using advanced visualization tools. Our goal is to help our customers more effectively manage their data center environment.

  2. With all the lines blurring in both the physical datacenter and the IT infrastructure inside...it's fun to think about what the end-state might be. Maybe we'll get to a place where the application drives the shape of the infrastructure. Why can't the application present instructions to say I need this much compute, this much storage, this much firewall protection, this much geographic diversity, and I want to provision it in real time. Seems achievable to me!

  3. Thanks for the great article. Amazing insight and research. appreciate it. In its fresh days, Data Center Infrastructure Management was born of the need to accept and cut down energy consumption. DCIM is now an offshoot of the green IT initiative and originally was designed to do basic energy monitoring, reporting and management at the data centre level.