The DCIM market is clearly hot. The re-tooling of the IT industry itself is in high gear. I have never seen the amount of re-thinking across all technologies underway as I do right now. The very core of IT is being reconstituted, and everyone from the chip and server vendors to the power and cooling players are having to react with DRAMATIC new technologies to address the modern challenges associated with price of power, data center capacity and density, and economies of scale. (Kinda reminds me of the crazy REAL changes we’ve seen in the automotive industry for the past few years. The auto makers spent 25 years TALKING about fuel efficiency goals, while introducing Hummers! See how skyrocketing gasoline costs and a few bankruptcies can actually change the rhetoric to reality!).
There is clearly a new Sheriff in town. Bigger and better (with more stuff) is NOT better. If you listen to some of the industry’s visionaries, like Bruce Taylor at the 451 Group, they talk about the data center industry NOT as a black and white change-over, but as a journey to a HYBRID model. The “Digital Convergence” (his words), will see traditional corporate data centers (with virtualization), modular, Co-Location and Cloud all working together for most end-user customers. Each end-user will have a different mix, but they will all have portions of each. It’s kind of scary to existing IT professionals to have this amount of hybridization in the near future, knowing the difficulty already being seen in ITAM and ITSM across their existing in-house gear. This difficulty is evidenced by the slow early adoption rate for DCIM, which has been hampered due to the years of culture, limited documentation and less-than-perfect life-cycle management discipline. After dragging their feet for years, the DCIM adoption rate is now almost a hockey-stick. We are getting to the inflection point within the next 12 months for sure! (Yippie)
So that brings me to DCIM in this hybrid world. I am really optimistic when I see a couple of the most mature DCIM vendors starting to address this converged world already, NOT just in white papers and FAQ sheets, but in ACTUAL FEATURES that have been painstakingly developed based on actual co-lo and cloud user requirements. Using DCIM in a Co-Lo or Cloud environment requires a great deal of attention to the specific multi-user, multi-vendor and multi-tenant use cases and detail. As some of the DCIM vendors will quickly realize, it’s NOT just a word-smithing exercise regarding their existing software solution. You can’t just SAY that the software can handle big environments like the Cloud or a Co-Lo. You can’t just change the brochure… the product needs to be changed! The amount of granularity and partitioning required in a multi-tenacy, multi-user model is huge! Secured access and visualization, workflows and ticketing/remediation, reporting, capacity planning. All of these need to be engineered to account for the multi-tenant, multi-user world.
In this new converged world, having the right tools in place is not just a good idea, it’s business survival. It can affect charge-backs and downtime (and the associated MTTR) which may affect SLAs and fees. It will directly affect competitive cost structures and likely the bottom-line. DCIM is being adopted, and the DCIM vendors that plan on hybrid infrastructure use cases in this converged world will reap the rewards long-term.