Accurate monitoring of the data center environment and precise allocation of resources has long been the holy grail of the data center industry. Until recent years though, the software and hardware tools to provide solid and reliable Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) were not available.
Companies were forced to rely on a mixture of ad-hoc solutions and intuitive knowledge, leading to less than optimal efficiency. In effect, we were leaving money on the table because of an inability to properly monitor and allocate resources.
In the last few years, the landscape has changed considerably. New technologies have been developed that enable data centers to meticulously monitor all levels of their operations, from server hardware to the larger data center environment, and the processes and procedures therein.
A recent white paper from APC reveled that during this decade, spending on DCIM will rise from $500 million to $7.5 billion. According to Forrester, market penetration of DCIM solutions will grow from 1 percent in 2010 to 60 percent in 2014. That investment is being driven by the promise of increased ROI on infrastructure capital investment and the ability to provide better value and more reliable service to customers.
Data Center Infrastructure Management can lead to across the board efficiency improvements, including improved energy efficiency – of critical import as the drive to greener data centers continues –, greater availability and up-time, and improved manageability.
Convergent lines of technological innovation have provided a set of tools that are finally bringing DCIM to a state of maturity. Precise and easily available hardware location information can be provided by asset-mounted RFID tags, and automated discovery tools can provide detailed information about the condition of servers, including hardware monitoring and. The advent of powerful mobile and touch-based technologies provides a way for data center technicians to easily and immediately access information in real-time.
As data availability and analytics have improved, so has the ability to derive actionable information and test alternative scenarios, allowing for both immediate remediation of problems as they occur, and better planning to help improve provisioning and procedures.
As DCIM continues to develop we can expect to see enormous advances in our ability to match supply with demand, allot workloads to make the most efficient use of assets, and manage workflows with the confidence that hard data brings.