"As data center owners and operators hone in on energy efficiency as a key driver of facility success, the demand for improved Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is reaching new heights. The market for DCIM is forecast to climb at a continued rate, with both today's emerging technologies and tomorrow's innovations on the receiving end of heavy investment.
Google's Lenoir Data Center, DCIM at Work
The global DCIM market is expected to hit $4.5 billion by 2020, a sharp rise from the $663 million expected to be pulled in worldwide in 2013, according to a recent report by Navigant Research. The DCIM market growth will be bolstered by the introduction of new software technologies and system components that enhance monitoring, measurement and overall control of both IT and physical facility infrastructure.
""By enabling deep visibility into all aspects of a data center's operations, DCIM technology is opening tremendous opportunities for data centers to become more manageable and efficient,"" said Navigant Research research director Eric Woods. ""At the same time, market hurdles, such as risk aversion among customers and lack of awareness of DCIM capabilities, have dissipated, opening significant opportunities for DCIM vendors.""
DCIM: The Times, They Are a-Changin'
Foremost among the concerns factoring into DCIM investment strategies is the means to drive down energy waste without sacrificing performance. Power usage and green impact traditionally took a backseat to more time-sensitive concerns and rapid deployment during data center design and development. Getting the data center up and running and maintaining availability were the chief factors that guided operational decision making.
Additionally, risk-averse companies were reticent to invest heavily in DCIM solutions for energy efficiency, due either to concerns about their feasibility, cost or the potential stigma associated with a poorly functioning system. However, the effort of companies such asFacebook and Apple to use alternative energy sources in their facilities has helped pull them out of the shadows and into the limelight.
Times change. A recent survey of the Data Center Users Group, a coalition of data center management professionals overseen by Emerson Network Power, found that becoming more energy efficient was the chief concern for 44 percent of respondents, the most of any area. Availability and adequate monitoring and data center management rounded out the top three. This clearly indicates that data center industry professionals value management and monitoring technologies as a means of achieving energy efficiency without sacrificing availability or performance.
""As the complexity and criticality of the data center continues to increase, data center professionals are increasingly turning to monitoring and data center infrastructure management tools to provide the greater visibility they need to plan for growth and support changes to the data center without compromising availability, and while ensuring customers' needs and corporate goals are met,"" stated Bob Miller, a member of the DCUG board of directors and the vice president of global solution sales at Emerson Network Power.
Improving Data Center TCO Holistically
Whether the organization plans on reducing energy consumption, cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions or improving disaster recovery capabilities by relying less on local power grids, many have found that bringing more oversight and quantitative evaluations into their facilities gives them a more holistic view of facility performance. The total cost of ownership can be increasingly applied to the facility on a whole, rather than the looking at the data center as a sum of its individual parts.
Data center cooling technologies, servers, IT and power infrastructure do not exist in a vacuum, even if their separation made facilities easier to manage in the short term. These facilities can and should be viewed as a sum of their parts - a single server, for example, may be online but not currently in use. Even in this state, it still requires more than half of its usual power to run. Multiplied over a facility with hundreds or thousands of similarly under-capacity servers, it can make for a substantial operating expenditures with virtually no benefit.
By taking a big picture approach to the data center, it can be easier to spot inefficiencies or incompatibility within infrastructure components. DCIM put into action via wireless sensor networks and data collecting devices can help engineers and operators maintain more comprehensive oversight of facilities, while redundant systems and better backup infrastructure can help facilitate the identification and safe removal of poor-performing elements and the testing of new configurations."