What is Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)?


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As data centers continue to grow in complexity, organizations are requiring more processing power and resources to support their IT operations. It’s not enough to simply monitor capacity and power – every aspect of a data center must be monitored and optimized in order to be efficient.

This is where data center infrastructure management (DCIM) comes into play. With DCIM, administrators and managers have access to a holistic view of a data center’s performance that improves the efficiency and reliability of operations.

Understanding Data Center Infrastructure Components

In order to understand the value of DCIM, it’s important to first understand the components of data center infrastructure. Every data center includes different systems and resources – both physical and virtual – that are designed to perform desired applications or assignments.

These components include things like power and cooling systems, network equipment, and servers, as well as racks housing IT equipment and supporting infrastructure like switches, transformers, HVAC systems, and uninterruptable power supplies (UPS).

Together, these components power applications, process and store data, and provide secure, shared network access to users.

Benefits of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)

DCIM is so valuable because it provides administrators and managers with the ability to identify, locate, visualize and manage all data center assets, quickly provision new equipment, and effectively plan future growth.

It offers clear answers to questions such as, “Where is my data center asset located?”, “Where is the best place to put a new server?”, “Do I have under-utilized resources in my data center?”, or “Do I have sufficient space, power, cooling, and network connectivity to provide my needs for the next month? Year? Five years?”

Some of the more specific benefits of DCIM include:

Greater visibility into physical infrastructure: DCIM software integrates the monitoring of the entire IT infrastructure into a centralized system, helping administrators know at a glance how their data center environment is configured, what resources are assigned to which physical or virtual services, and how the resources are being utilized.

Improved uptime: DCIM software continually monitors equipment and builds reports based on gathered data that provides real-time feedback on the status of a data center. This makes it easier to identify weaknesses and become aware of any equipment that might need service or replacement. It essentially allows administrators to troubleshoot proactively before failures can impact users or services.

Greater energy management: DCIM provides data on the environment (temperature, humidity, air flow), power (at the device, rack, zone, and data center level), and cooling systems. This information helps alert administrators when thresholds are exceeded and provides insight into how to reduce energy usage and costs.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) Use Cases

DCIM solutions are used in a wide range of industries, such as banking, financial services, insurance, government, IT and telecom, healthcare and life sciences, and manufacturing, among others.

The IT and telecom sectors in particular account for the largest market share, given the need for efficient data centers to continuously process an enormous amount of data with low latency. For instance, the increasing volume of data generated by social media and increased usage of digital services such as online purchasing, video-on-demand, and digital payments require infrastructure that can retain, store, and process data at maximum speeds.

In general, DCIM is being employed by small and large enterprises around the world. In fact, the global DCIM market is poised to exceed a value of $3.5 million in 2023 and surpass $15.2 billion by 2033, according to recent data. Given DCIM’s ability to lower operational costs, reduce energy consumption, and anticipate problems before they occur, it's not difficult to understand its growth.