DCIM: WHEN versus WHAT (The Inflection Point Game)

When will DCIM Happen?

When will DCIM Happen?

DCIM is coming. We all know it. The analysts know it, the investors know it, the vendors know it and customers are quickly warming up to it. It’s not a FAD (or a bad dream) that will go away.  DCIM is here to stay and is fundamentally changing the way we will measure success in the data center. The big question is WHEN?

When do YOU need to do something about it? When will DCIM become a production technology which is deployable en mass and solves more problems than it creates? Provides bigger answers to bigger questions? When will IT organizations be re-structured in such a way that a new set of enabler tools can be successfully plumbed into their best-practice process(es) and allow IT professionals to do more or better work than previously able? When will the DCIM eye-candy we see at tradeshows become an essential part of running IT successfully?

We have some points to consider:

  1. A new assertion from one of the biggest IT analyst firms which states that in 2013 HALF of all data center managers will be using a DCIM tool, and their previous assertion that by 2014 60% of those DC managers will be using DCIM.
  2. The quantity of medium and large Data Centers ranges in number from 60,000 to 100,00 depending on who you talk to. (Doesn’t matter which number is correct, it’s a really BIG NUMBER.)
  3. There are at lest 200 vendors that self-identify themselves as DCIM suppliers. This includes all the visual eye-candy folks (Netzoom, nlyte, iTracs, DC Planner, Rackwise, AlphaPoint, Visual DC, FieldView, etc) as well as all of the “DCIM-Ready” suppliers (like RFcode, ServerTech, etc). Yes, there really are 200 players!!!

Clearly we all have alot riding on DCIM timing and customers are already being asked to answer some really hard questions about their specific BUSINESS metrics in the Data Center.  Not merely old-school operational metrics like SLA related or UPTIME stats, but the total operating costs, long-term risks, warranty costs, energy by application and strategic capacity planning associated with the Data Center. CEO/CFO/CIO’s are asking for answers about costs of doing IT ‘business’ HERE rather than THERE. NOW versus LATER. Total costs for any given old or new application, ALL IN COSTS for IT (including hardware, software, warranty, energy, etc).

It is probably a good time to remember that while the definition of “DCIM” is pretty diverse, the ultimate needs for running a data center cost effectively in a dynamic world is converging. There will be consolidation of DCIM solutions, and ultimately customers WILL have the granular capability of looking at their operations as a cross-section at any point in time, now or projected into the future to gauge their IT success. The new crop of DCIM solutions will answer the physical side of that study. Over a relatively short period of time, DCIM will also be coupled by the largest ITSM players (IBM, CA, HP, BMC, etc) into their existing frameworks. (Can you say M&A?). The view of the data center will see lines blurred between physical and logical.

So, WHEN does it start? It starts NOW, but goes on for ‘awhile’. Today, customers really can deploy many of the currently available point DCIM-tools to answer SMALL(er) and more tactical questions. As time goes by, the questions that can be answered will be bigger and more strategic. Essentially moving from operations to strategy. By June 2013 the questions that will be answerable will be amazing/important and impactful. A year or so later we’ll all wonder how we ever existed before DCIM and everyone will have funded DCIM projects that are underway.

Where do all of these phases take us to in time? Well, remember that the DCIM journey has only just started and that it will gain significant speed in the summer of 2013. After that there will be extended existing processes evaluation and documentation, new requirements setting, DCIM tool sets selection(s), proof-of-concepts, deployment/integration time-frame, vendor considerations and negotiations, price stabilization, etc. we will be in 2015 before the majority of medium to large data centers are UP AND RUNNING in production V1.0 DCIM scenarios (where the DCIM tools chosen are embedded functional steps required for ALL operations within the data center).

Think of the next THREE YEARS as a once in a lifetime experience that we all will be able to look back on and say ‘I remember when…”

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Mark Harris Fremont, CA
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