DCIM is in the Eye of the Beholder

Posted 06.17.15 in DCIM Strategy by Nlyte Software

DCIM in eyeI’ve attended two trade shows over the past three weeks with a hope that I would gain insights on the market and to that end, the shows did not disappoint. The first was Uptime Institute’s Symposium in Santa Clara, which is targeted at the Data Center and those in that ecosystem – although the analysts I work with had indicated that there would be a bit more IT content than in years past. The other show was HP’s Discover in Las Vegas which is HP’s annual show covering all their business lines replete with keynote addresses from CEO Meg Whitman. So you could say that I was truly getting input from different sides: those familiar with the Data Center, and those familiar with IT.

At Symposium, one thing that was readily clear was that DCIM was no longer an unknown acronym- when just three years ago,  folks were mostly unfamiliar. DCIM was front and center in many presentations, research and findings – and brought up by numerous analysts (vs. just one or two.)  Name recognition was high for the top vendors (Nlyte included), and several people that I spoke with indicated that they were already evaluating DCIM or looking to even partner with a DCIM provider.

Presentations at Uptime Institute’s Symposium discussed a couple of interesting aspects about DCIM that cropped up.  One was the difficulty of getting information out of older equipment, especially those where staff members had long since left the organization, and the integration to access the data was anything but straightforward (think CRAHs and CRAC units here). Once the data was accessed, people tended to go all-out and download everything, which only added to their misery. Think of this for a minute: if, for example, your data center has 300 racks, 10 items per rack, and you’re measuring e.g. peak/low/average power every minute, that’s 9k data points every minute or 13 million data points a day.  DCIM or not, that’s a Big Data opportunity, although many might contend it’s overkill.

Another trend point was that DCIM is a good aggregator of data, across multiple systems, and that you need to be integrating systems with it in order to avoid being siloed. This plays very well with Nlyte’s approach, and I was glad to hear this being promoted.  At least one vendor in their presentation harped on playing up power management aspects of DCIM (for better or worse). I was glad to hear analysts pointing out the value of effectively managing assets for cost benefit.

At HP Discover, the show covered all of HP’s product lines so it was interesting to talk with people at our booth that were familiar with ITSM but unfamiliar with DCIM. When they asked, “what is DCIM”, it was great to see them slowly nod their head when they heard how DCIM improves ITSM. To me it was reassuring that even though they might not have heard of the acronym, they recognized the importance of data center infrastructure, its need to be managed, and its need to be integrated into ITSM solutions.

As Nlyte has several CMDB connectors, I was interested to hear at a CMDB users roundtable their perceptions of DCIM – and really CMDB overall. The topics of need for accuracy, compliance, and the (in)ability to roll out their CMDB were forefront. However, without prompting, it was reassuring to hear the case being made of needing to integrate with DCIM systems and to keep their IT system of record as accurate as possible were also topics of conversation.

So at one show, DCIM was readily known, being heavily evaluated and valued for its ability to synthesize information across multiple silos, manage power and assets. At another, DCIM was comparatively unknown, but its value was indeed recognized for assisting with ITSM initiatives of compliance and asset accuracy. Overall it seems, the value of DCIM is slightly different depending on your perspective / role and thus in the eye of the beholder.

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