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Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) has been described as the convergence between facilities management, IT management, and automation. Because today's capacity to monitor and analyze every aspect of a data center is becoming more cost-effective, DCIM is quickly rising as an industry best practice.

DCIM makes it possible to have a single view for monitoring and understanding non-compute resources like energy, cooling, and lighting, as well as compute resources like the IT equipment supporting business functions.

Gartner has defined DCIM as tools used to “monitor, measure, manage and/or control data center utilization and energy consumption of all IT-related equipment.”

While data center management is the set of strategies and techniques administrators develop and use to operate their IT facilities, DCIM most often refers to the software tools and solutions that managers can rely on to help visualize and manage their critical assets. Data center infrastructure itself is the core physical or hardware-based resources and components – including all IT infrastructure devices, equipment, and technologies – that comprise a data center and includes any of the following components:

  • Computing resources:
    • Servers
    • Computers and terminals
    • Networking equipment such as routers, KVM, or other switches
    • Security such as a firewall or biometric security system
    • Storage such as storage area network (SAN) or backup/tape storage
    • Data center management software/applications
  • It also includes non-computing resources:
    • Power and cooling devices such as in-row and perimeter cooling systems, UPS, generators, and transfer switches
    • Physical server racks/chassis and power distribution units (PDUs)
    • Cables
    • Internet backbone

Learn More: Is Your Enterprise Ready for DCIM?

The Goals of DCIM

Enterprise DCIM solutions are exceptionally precise and provide monitoring granularity, even down to a specific port on a particular rack server in a sea of servers, allowing for total visibility and control over everything in a data center. DCIM software helps managers optimize their IT facility performance and reduces energy consumption and costs. To this end, four key areas that DCIM impacts are:

  • IT Resource Capacity Management — Compare and anticipate future resource utilization against available capacity, understand usage, and plan for growth.
  • Asset Visibility and Management — Achieve accurate information on the identity, location, movement, status of all assets and equipment, as well as takecontrol over those assets.
  • Threat Detection Management — Detect network threats and either block them from penetrating the data center or eliminate those threats on the network before they are exploited.
  • Energy Efficiency Management — Baseline current power consumption levels, find power leaks and inefficient equipment, and reduce energy hogs.

Benefits of DCIM

Insights from DCIM tools are beneficial in every phase of data center management — planning, design, operations, monitoring, and predictive analytics. DCIM software offers administrators the following benefits:

  • Consolidates management tools, reducing costly subscriptions, and eliminating redundancy.
  • Creates a single source of truth for asset management.
  • Informs standard procedures for equipment changes.
  • Makes visible and accessible accurate, actionable data.
  • Garners insight into the current state and future needs of the data center.
  • Makes accurate and timely estimations of space, power, and cooling capacity for added convenience.
  • Reduces operating costs from power consumption when applied properly.
  • Makes automation possible, reducing human error, and freeing up valuable time.

Learn more about  the advantages of DCIM software, and turn data center complexity into insightful visualizations.

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