According to Gartner, Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools monitor, measure, manage and/or control data center utilization and energy consumption of all IT-related equipment (such as servers, storage and network switches) and facility infrastructure components (such as power distribution units [PDUs] and computer room air conditioners [CRACs]).
TechTarget goes further, as it digs into the benefits of DCIM.
What are the benefits of DCIM?
Benefits of DCIM include the following:
Increased uptime. Monitoring equipment and constructing reports on gathered data help an organization determine its data center health and if any equipment needs to be replaced.
Capacity management. Features found in DCIM software help organizations model and allocate space for new hardware and equipment and manage their power chain.
Proactive incident management. Real-time management features give facility managers insight into the state of their data centers now and into the future.
Energy management. DCIM enables organization to measure their energy consumption for all IT-related equipment. This insight helps them to reduce energy usage and costs.
Improved productivity. DCIM enables IT departments to monitor across multiple locations remotely. This is extremely beneficial for edge data centers where automated alerts can help IT track physical and logical components and warn of component failures.
What are the challenges of DCIM?
DCIM also has the following disadvantages:
Security. DCIM connects multiple critical systems together, increasing the number of potential points of entry.
Environmental monitoring. Servers and other IT equipment found in racks should be carefully monitored with temperature sensors to ensure no equipment overheats. Depending on the environment, this could be expensive.
Facility systems. Older data centers might not be up to date on their equipment or lack a system, possibly negatively affecting DCIM. For example, a data center might not have real-time utility energy metering and may have to base total energy usage on its utility bill, which could end up costing them more in power consumption. Likewise, the lack of temperature sensors in older equipment may mean the organization has to invest in newer equipment.
What are the components of DCIM?
The components of DCIM surround the architecture and support IT functions and infrastructure. These components include the following:
Physical architecture. This includes floor space consideration for hardware components like servers, network switches, airflow, cooling systems and PDUs.
Materials catalog. DCIM technologies contain libraries of material lists. For example, these could include basic specifications, servers, storage and networking equipment or PDUs. These libraries are updated and maintained regularly by the vendors.
Capacity planning. Planning for future capacity includes estimating of space, computer hardware, software and connection infrastructure resources. DCIM software can construct models for future scenarios based on specified limitations.
Change management. DCIM must take hardware replacement into account to avoid risks like downtime or malfunctions. DCIM must also take process changes into account and can be used to maintain an audit trail of requests and work orders.
Software integration. DCIM software may also be able to integrate with existing management software to better track automated and integrated data center workflows.
Data analysis. DCIM software also collects real-time data, such as hardware metrics, which helps to mitigate outages or other incidents.