cables in a data centerCall me old school or just call me old: when DCIM first started making headlines here and there, I never really understood the acronym. What does it stand for and what does it really mean?

DCIM stands for ‘Data Center Infrastructure Management’. Why is it ‘DCIM’ for ‘Data Center Infrastructure Management’ anyways? My best guess is this: it sounds bigger, bolder, and somehow legitimizes the hefty price tags and all those consulting fees that go along with it.

Another reason why it’s probably such a big term needing an acronym?

I think they need a big name so they can show up on some ‘magic quadrant’ where so-called ‘growth numbers’ in the millions or billions can be talked about. In other words: just plain hype. There are some choice from software users and purchasers on magic quadrants over at Reddit. One commentator over on the boards said, “I’ve been involved in multiple MQ evaluations of products….they really don’t even begin to actually evaluate a product. The evaluation process is basically just a series of calls with execs who IMO usually don’t even have a grasp on the product either.”

So…did all that hype and getting on ‘magic quadrants’ pay off? Not at all – according to the number of big software vendors who’ve bowed out of the market. While Commscope is the most recent casualty, CA Technologies, who once provided DCIM for Facebook, left the market in 2015.

I’m not saying there isn’t a need for DCIM. If you manage IT infrastructure and don’t have DCIM in place, you’re probably wasting money on power and cooling costs, buying equipment (and licenses and certificates) you don’t need, and downtime. What I am saying is that ‘DCIM’ doesn’t need to be such a big term that it needs a 4-letter acronym – that’s hype. I prefer to use an old-school term: network documentation.


Because, ultimately, that’s exactly what DCIM software is and does: it documents the network. Yeah, you could very well say ‘but DCIM may also include other things — like monitoring and managing the network’.

That doesn’t hold water for me because aren’t you documenting the network to understand what you have? Where it all is? Capacity? Health? I prefer the term ‘network documentation’ to ‘data center infrastructure management’ because it’s straight and to the point. There isn’t any hooplah, magic quadrants, or fancy acronyms for my resume. Wait: don’t you need fancy acronyms like ‘DCIM’ on your resume? No: what you really need is some good, old-fashioned documentation so you can help keep your network up and running so you can go home on time and keep the bosses at bay.

Bottomline? Maybe it’s time to go back to basics a bit and forget all this mumbo-jumbo about magic quadrants, and billions of dollars saved, and boiling the ocean with DCIM. As another commentator on the Reddit magic quadrant boards wisely said on evaluating software, “Talking to the vendor, getting a demo, having a look through the technical documentation and talking to friends in the industry normally gives me a good picture of what a vendor and their product are like.” Forget the acronyms that stand for long words and forget the hype: focus on the ROI.

About Jason Sherman

As Graphical Networks’ Sales Engineering and Support Services Manager, Jason Sherman leads the pre and post sales cycle with the entire Graphical Networks software portfolio, and ensures current customers are able to use the software to its fullest potential.