Everybody gets a GOLD star, now can we get back to business?

DCIM has the opportunity to change the way we think about and operate data centers. It has a profound opportunity to adjust not only our planning cycles and operational processes, but in doing so affect the very cost structures for doing work. In plain english, DCIM is a disruptive technology that directly supports the industry’s requirement to provide a much more disciplined approach to managing the massive data center challenge all the way down to its roots.

For the many of us that have been in the category for the past half a dozen years, thank you for everything you have brought to the table. In fact, collectively us pioneers created this table! We have jointly created a category where none existed, and have defined a zillion aspects of managing the physical layer of IT that had really never been done before in any form of disciplined fashion. I think it’s a good time to ‘high-five’ the guy next to you. We did it! We’ve proven that precise discipline can be incorporated into our data center operations and that DCIM is real and here to stay.

But NOW the fun starts. Fun? Well, actually, no. I mean WORK. For all the good we have done, everything has been foundational in nature. Everything has been sub-components of the bigger opportunity. The REAL goal is financial management of work. As much fun as it is to talk about DCIM, in the end the real goal is to reduce the cost of doing work.

The role of the CIO is changing to accommodate this new level of discipline. The new CIO’s goal is simply to have enough service available at the right cost. CIOs are looking to manage their capacity so that just the right amount of work processing capability is online based upon demand at each moment of the day. And remember this capacity has costs for facilities (like cooling and lights) and IT gear (like servers and switches), literally everything we do in the category of DCIM is in support of that singular goal.

Sometimes we DCIM technologists get too close to the trees. So many of us have relished in theoretical claims and speak at 50,000 foot levels. Luckily the industry has pioneer end-users as well and they tether us to the ground. These well-intentioned technologists have come to the table and are becoming the business catalyst in the DCIM world. The most successful of these end-users are finding the linkage between DCIM, BMS and ITSM systems is a critical factor in their success, and they find that savings can be found all over the place when you start looking for it IF you have a well-integrated set of core systems.

Keep in mind that without this DCIM and ITSM (and others) integration, you are likely just getting one or more new DCIM islands of new tactical features, some pretty pictures or a fancy new gauge. WITH an integrated plan, magic happens. Put on your DCIM hat and head down to your CFO/CIO’s office and exclaim “We’re getting back to Business” and then watch the fun begin!

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Mark Harris Fremont, CA
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