Modern businesses are heavily reliant on technology and as technology evolves so do their requirements for a robust data center infrastructure and reliable solutions to manage them. This expectation gap has been readily filled in by DCIM solutions. The global DCIM or Datacenter Infrastructure Management market is predicted to grow by $4.12 billion in the next three years. However, technological growth is never stagnant resulting in a constant demand for DCIM vendors to cater to the next-gen data centers. This article seeks to understand the current DCIM solutions market and explore future trends for these tools.

Understanding DCIM

Traditionally, data center infrastructure monitoring and management have predominantly been manual tasks. While this resulted in an increased dependency on the resources it also made it difficult to manage a growing infrastructure spread across multiple locations and regulated by different authorities. Ever since their inception in 2007 and 2008, DCIM solutions have continued to improve the way organizations administer their data centers.

DCIM tools are designed to create a convergence of technology with building facilities functions such that the administrators are given a holistic view of how the data center is performing. The ultimate goal of these solutions is to optimize and efficiently utilize different data center elements including equipment, energy, and floor space.

Components of A DCIM Solution

A comprehensive DCIM solution should comprise 6 critical elements. These are:

  1. Enterprise-Class Monitoring – An efficient DCIM solution should monitor alerts and thresholds and collect data pertaining to multiple nodes across different datacenters.
  2. Asset Inventory Information – Complete asset inventory information must also include relationships between various facilities and IT equipment and mapping must be performed up to the physical port level between each and every device.
  3. Data Analysis and Reports – This refers to the ease with which data is made available to the data center administrators. Along with dashboard views, the IT team must be able to drill up and down to view a more granular level report and analysis.
  4. Workflow Management – Processes built in a DCIM solution must create systematic workflows that support modeling, ticketing, planning, approvals, work management, as well as audits.
  5. Physical Connectivity Management – Effective tracking of physical connectivity including cable/data network and power chain along with simplified maintenance and troubleshooting across the components.
  6. Comprehensive Models Library – Lastly, an inbuilt comprehensive models library must be constantly updated to offer information that is accurate.

Current DCIM Market

The current DCIM market is largely concentrated with most of the market share residing with a few global vendors. These companies have helped DCIM grow beyond just software to becoming a full-fledged practice for comprehensive data center monitoring and management.

In the US and Europe, current drivers for the DCIM market include the transition to cloud-based solutions and an increase in organizational analytics and data, respectively. In India and China, the trend of collocation and the growth of mega data centers has been the driving force behind the DCIM market.

Popular DCIM Organizations

The top 5 global companies offering some of the finest DCIM software in 2019 are:

  1. Cisco
  2. Intel
  3. Geist Global
  4. Digital Realty
  5. Sunbird

The Need for DCIM Solutions

When DCIM solutions were first introduced they were discarded as unnecessary and expensive. However, the technology landscape has transformed from what it was a decade back and DCIM solutions have become a centralized method of managing and tracking the well-being of the complex data center environments. Most importantly, a data center infrastructure management solution provides insight and visibility that can help enterprises minimize their downtime.

Having said that, DCIM solutions are designed keeping in mind large and complex data centers. Therefore, they are not as relevant or financially viable for smaller businesses as they can be extremely expensive to implement, operate, and maintain.

Future of DCIM in Next-generation Data Centers

DCIM solutions market is predicted to register a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of almost 22% in the next three years. This is likely to come from an integration with cloud solutions and virtualization. This growth rate in DCIM solutions is despite the existing market conditions where companies are cutting down on their physical data center facilities.

Rather than building new data centers, organizations are keener on renovating the existing space to enhance their rack density as well as improve operations. On average, global entities have reduced their average number of data centers to under 3 facilities in 2019.

Additionally, the value and quantity of data are increasing faster than ever making it more relevant than ever to have an efficient DCIM solution that can help organizations maintain security.

New Market Opportunities

DCIM is most likely to experience growth from the Next-generation data centers or NGDCs. The next-generation data centers are not just physical facilities but are more of a global ecosystem that is capable of sharing resources within as well as outside its physical limitations.

Next-generation data centers are highly likely to rely on DCIM tools and ensuing analytics for making real-time decisions, especially regarding space management, power consumption, and capacity utilization. Automated control of mission-critical facilities systems like cooling and power can be efficiently addressed by implementing an organization-wide DCIM solution. This will further be cemented by the constant need for data and analytics regarding these important elements of a data center.

In Conclusion

Digital infrastructure will continue to grow and evolve at a striking pace putting even more pressure on the availability and resilience of data centers. These changes are largely attributed to increasing outages and complex regulatory requirements. Added to this, the fast-increasing data, and a need to ensure enterprise-wide security are trends that are here to stay. DCIM solutions offer appropriate tools to monitor, operate as well as manage complex elements of the data center infrastructure. They have effectively contributed towards automating critical components of a data center environment thereby assisting in the emergence of next-generation data centers. As a technology, DCIM is yet to reach its peak and we can see this happen in the next few years.

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