data center corridor flanked by cabinentsIf someone were to ask me today, “Hey, you know about this stuff: is DCIM failing users?”, I would set them straight: “No, it’s not the software. It’s the hype that’s failing the software.”

AS DCIM continues to gain steam, the more people use it and the more people talk about it. A joint survey by Dell and Intel found that 75% of data center managers who deployed DCIM did so in order to reduce costs. Clearly, word has travelled that DCIM can cut costs across the infrastructure: from less downtime, to less stuff you don’t need, to less expenditures on power and cooling costs. Are they happy with DCIM?

A study conducted by the Uptime Institute found that of those who had purchased DCIM software, 70% considered it chose to be a successful deployment. Great for two thirds of the data center managers out there, but what’s going on with that other third? Are they just the kind of folks who will be unhappy with anything? Statistically, that’s fairly unlikely. I think it’s far more likely that they thought they were getting one thing when they signed on to DCIM, and ended up with something else entirely.

So, let’s go back to the beginning of this blog: hype is failing DCIM. What? How?

This is my thesis: Hype is making DCIM seem like more than it is — not what it actually is — and it’s a problem.

Allow me to illustrate:

If you were selling a small cabin with some cool features like a hot tub (that’s outdoors…for better or worse), a scenic little creek right outside the kitchen window, and all the quiet and solitude that rural life can offer….you probably wouldn’t describe that little cabin like this in a real estate listing, “Impressive home offers state-of-the-art spa and amenities, prime community location, waterview.” While there are lots of folks who would want a cabin by a creek and enjoy a hot tub outdoors, the folks who would need an impressive home in the middle of town probably won’t appreciate that creek. You wouldn’t market the cabin like that because you wouldn’t be getting the right message to the right people — and all that rustic charm and relaxation the cabin offers would just go completely unused by the wrong set of people.

So, to go back to DCIM: it’s kind of like a cabin in that it offers some users some things and not others. The actual things — aka the functions — DCIM can do for you (such as to lower PUE) will vary depending who the vendor is.

DCIM is not a singular solution to every problem your data center ever has had or will have. It’s a set of functions that vary depending upon the software you select and what your organization needs to do. To truly have a successful implementation, you first need to know what you want to do: cabling, power monitoring, network diagrams, outside plant?

Bottomline? DCIM has yet to boil the ocean but it has certainly helped countless organizations cut costs, clutter, hassle, and downtime. Before you invest in a DCIM solution, figure out what you expect DCIM can do for you, discover what you really need it to do, and find a software solution that aligns with your needs.

For further reading, we offer a vendor-agnostic DCIM eBook.