In a scant five years, data center infrastructure software (DCIM) has grown from unknown to essential for large data center operations. Described as the marriage of infrastructure management and data center facility management, DCIM is a response to the rapid growth and complexity of data centers and the business urgency placed upon their efficient, dependable operation, as well as to help reconcile the sometimes-adversarial roles of infrastructure and Operations (I&O).
In a recent ComputerWeekly article, Clive Longbottom of the UK analyst company Quocirca Ltd. counsels that data center managers must consider DCIM if they want their facilities to operate at an optimal level. He says, “Failure to use DCIM tools will result in lower systems availability and less flexibility for supporting the organization.”
Peak 10 technology partner, Cisco, posted a blog recently with a great overview of what DCIM does and why it’s important; Cisco’s Unified Computing System (USC) provides a unified way of managing server infrastructures, a key aspect of DCIM implementation.
Peak 10’s 23 data centers are built upon the UCS architecture. Also, our I&O management are very much on the same team. This is a good thing for the mid-level customers we serve. While beneficial, DCIM is a commitment of major proportions, given the expense, skills, complexity and management load DCIM places upon corporate data center operators.
The explosion of data and recognition of its importance to business is a likely driver behind DCIM. There may also be a correlation to the growing demand for colocation and cloud services as an alternative to DCIM. Approximately one-quarter of all data center footprint in North America is now outsourced, an increase of 13 percent over the prior year with an additional 15 percent predicted by year-end, according to DCD Intelligence. They report an increase in the uptake of outsourced data center solutions across all industry verticals.
Forrester Research has another viewpoint (Strategic Benchmarks 2013: IT Infrastructure, May 22, 2013). Despite the rise of colocation and cloud, it says that DCIM will continue to grow at a healthy rate because a majority of I&O professionals continue to manage their own back-up sites. While these solutions will add another layer of complexity to I&O responsibilities, Forrester says, they will also deliver more robust, efficient, and cost-effective data centers to businesses.
Everywhere we look in this industry, use cases continue to evolve and new models spring up to address them. Not the least of these is hybrid cloud computing. There is only one proper balance between public and private cloud computing: the one that best suits the organization implementing it. DCIM is another tool – a sophisticated tool – in the box to help organizations get to where they want to be.