Data Center Infrastructure Management is an interesting topic. From the 20,000-foot view it seems like a completely obvious idea for overall datacenter management, but even now, with decades of datacenter experience behind us, DCIM is just now bubbling to the top as a key component in state-of-the-art datacenter design.
Intelligent systems management, embedded in devices, is a relatively recent design feature when you look at commonly applied standards to datacenter hardware. It wasn't that long ago that intelligent server management required add-in cards and out-of-band solutions to implement. But over the last few years, instrumenting just about every component found in the datacenter has become commonplace, along with inexpensive solutions for retrofitting devices such as server racks with monitoring and management equipment.
For years the companies that built the datacenter infrastructure equipment (as opposed to the IT load devices) have been developing and deploying management solutions for their hardware. In recent years they have been building entire suites of management software that is designed to go far beyond simple management, adding everything from on-demand provisioning to goal-seeking analysis tools, tagging these software-management tools for their hardware with the moniker Data Center Infrastructure Management.
While initially resistant, datacenter operators are beginning to embrace the overall concept of DCIM and are looking for ways to integrate it with their general operations. The major hardware infrastructure vendors, led primarily by the manufacturers of the big-ticket electrical equipment found in every datacenter, offer everything from stand-alone applications to full suites of DCIM-focused product.
There's no question that DCIM is on the minds of IT buyers these days, and that is very clear in the relatively recent appearance of DCIM features and DCIM-labeled management tools from traditional IT hardware and software vendors. With vendors of all stripes pushing unified and converged infrastructures, the selection of management tools, across the board, will have a far-reaching impact on the future of your datacenter.
And with that same push toward a single provider solution, what trade-offs in DCIM can be made without short-changing yourself? So this brings us to the question of the day: Do you want your DCIM solutions to come from the people making the infrastructure equipment or the people building the hardware and software that is dependent on it?