Solutions > Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)

What is Data Center Infrastructure Management?

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) means many things to many people. It is a relatively young term that represents an emerging class of IT physical infrastructure solutions, one that has already generated enormous market acceptance.

Why is DCIM taking the market with such force?
If you ask the executives who lie awake at night worrying about the tens of thousands of IT assets under their supervision, they’ll explain it with one word: “Help!”

Today’s IT decision-makers are starving for the information, insight, and command-and-control that a true Data Center Infrastructure Management solution offers.

They need to be able to see, understand, manage, and optimize the myriad of complex interrelationships that drive the modern data center – one of the most complex entities on earth. They need holistic information and visibility into the entire IT infrastructure, information that that is instantly meaningful and actionable. (Fragmented device-level data is no longer of much use to them.)

To paraphrase one of Gartner’s early definitions: Data Center Infrastructure Management integrates facets of system management with building management and energy management, with a focus on IT assets and the physical infrastructure needed to support them.

So what does this all really mean?
DCIM can help decision-makers:

  • Locate, visualize, and manage all of their physical assets within an integrated “single pane” view of the entire infrastructure
  • Automate the commissioning of new equipment, reducing the need for error-prone, time-consuming manual tasks like walking the floor to confirm what can go where
  • Automate capacity planning with unparalleled forecasting capabilities, including the use of “what if” scenarios
  • Reduce energy consumption, energy costs, and carbon footprint – save the planet while you’re saving potentially millions
  • Align IT to the needs of the business – and maintain that alignment, no matter how radically those business requirements may change and grow

Myth vs. Reality

Myth: DCIM is about the data center.
REALITY: DCIM IS ABOUT THE ENTERPRISE.
A true Data Center Infrastructure Management solution can scale to manage hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of assets sitting in the world’s largest global IT infrastructure environments. All of the servers, switches, blades, etc. and the myriad of facilities and building systems that constitute the physical infrastructure. Not just in the data center, but across the entire enterprise.

Myth: DCIM is about monitoring.
REALITY: DCIM IS ABOUT MANAGING.
Executives today cannot afford to mistake monitoring for managing. Monitoring energy usage at the device level gives you mere data – a single-dimensional perspective on a specific device at a specific point in time, without context. The data must be deciphered or assimilated so you can make sense of it.

What to do with the data, alerts and alarms requires information about all of the interrelationships that exist between assets – holistic information that is meaningful and actionable, and lets you respond all the way from the transformer on the street down to every device on every rack.

Myth: DCIM is about power.
REALITY: DCIM IS ABOUT EVERYTHING.
In its early days, Data Center Infrastructure Management was born of the need to understand and reduce energy consumption. While this is true, DCIM with interactive visualization has evolved far beyond power.

By integrating IT physical infrastructure management, facilities management, and systems management, DCIM is transforming how the IT ecosystem is seen and managed. Gone are the multiple toolsets and segmented monitoring. DCIM addresses a spectrum of challenges through a single "pane of glass":

  • Energy management. Reducing energy consumption and costs – priority #1 in data centers worldwide.
  • Asset management. Optimizing the utilization of assets throughout their lifecycles, from acquisition to decommissioning.
  • Availability management. Proactively identifying the impact of failures and maintenance outages on data center service levels.
  • Risk management. Establishing controls and records-keeping to meet regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, etc.
  • Service management. Monitoring the satisfaction of service requests to identify gaps and implement corrective actions where needed.
  • Supply chain management. Improving coordination of equipment delivery and disposal, resolving bottlenecks that can increase operating costs.
  • IT automation. Automating the planning and execution of infrastructure service requests, eliminating manual steps and speeding time-to-delivery.

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