woman in business attire gazes at data center racks

For increasingly complex data centers, data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software is no longer optional. Without it, how can you best allocate your resources (space, assets, power, etc.) and keep costs right-sized? That being said, DCIM is still, in the grand scheme of things, relatively new.

Choosing a DCIM vendor from a list created by an analyst firm such as Gartner, or a vendor that’s already known in the world of software based on another product, isn’t necessarily going to guarantee you end up with software you actually use. Just as with any important purchase, be sure to run due diligence before you sign on the dotted line.

Consider: There’s No One-Size-Fits-All DCIM Vendor

As we’ve written about before in this blog, there is no one-size-fits-all DCIM tool, and so: there’s no one-size-fits-all DCIM vendor. Different organizations have different needs — and if a DCIM vendor claims they offer everything, and the kitchen sink, all in one solution, that’s a big red flag. Know what you need and expect from DCIM software, and then create a list of vendors that offers software that’s compatible.

Consider: Over-Extended DCIM Vendors May Not Deliver

Do some legwork and ask questions such as, “what are your other products?” For example, at Graphical Networks, we have two flavors of netTerrain: our foundational software Logical (which comes included in our DCIM), and DCIM. We also have one add-on module: Outside Plant. That’s it: everything is netTerrain and we are 100% focused on making netTerrain the best software, from an operational and user perspective, possible. Beware: other DCIM vendors could have too many eggs in the basket.

Another great question to ask is, “what is your release cycle for DCIM?”. Good DCIM should be consistently updated, with new releases that iron out bugs and enhance usability and features. Click here to learn more about our release cycle for netTerrain..

Consider: Big Name Vendors May Jump Ship

As we said above, DCIM is a relatively new software. As a result, many big name vendors have rushed in … and, because DCIM can’t be one-size-fits-all and is more niche, find that they can’t grab the market share they need to make staying in the game worthwhile. They could also try to offer software that goes as far as boiling the ocean…but, if you look under the hood, you find that all of the different features and gadgets are poorly conceived when put to the test by actual users.

Another concern? Big name vendors very well may offer software that’s poorly conceived and also choose to leave the game. The result? You end up with software that’s not usable and not being updated. That’s not to say that a big name DCIM vendor should get an instant ‘no’ from you — but proceed with caution and perform due diligence.

Consider: A DCIM Vendor’s Longevity Matters

Two key questions to consider: how long has a vendor been in the business…and what is the likelihood they’ll be able to stay in business? You don’t necessarily want to buy software from a brand new DCIM vendor (we’ve been making DCIM software since 2007, and before that our team had decades working in IT visualization). You don’t want to pay money to be a guinea pig, and you also don’t want to buy software from a vendor who is going to exit just as fast as they waltzed in to the DCIM market.

Next, be careful about venture-funded DCIM vendors. Why? You don’t want to buy a solution from a company that could fold, or be sold, and be left with unsupported software that gets more and more outdated each year. At Graphical Networks, we’re proud to be 100% bootstrapped and employee-owned.

To sum up, as data centers and IT is relied upon more and more, the demand for good DCIM is only going to continue. To answer this demand, many big name software vendors and brand-new ones will probably enter the market….and not all will sell quality, or long term, solutions. What to do? Be careful, do your homework, and ask questions about the points above (and you can also read this mostly vendor-agnostic series about choosing the right DCIM solution).

About Fred Koh

As a seasoned sales executive, Fred Koh serves as Director of Sales and is responsible for Graphical Networks sales and channel partner program, marketing strategy, and operations.