Data centres remain at the heart of the whole functioning of many organisations, and despite the current buzz surrounding new technologies - such as cloud computing - it seems certain that they're likely to remain indispensable for a long time to come. Of course, data centre technology is itself hardly pickled in aspic and it continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of businesses and other large organisations which use a lot of data. So although some media pundits are already writing the data centre's obituary, it's highly likely that there's life in the old dog yet.


One recent innovation which has had a huge impact on the way data centres are run is data centre infrastructure management (DCIM), which has steadily grown in influence over the last five years or so. Together with cloud computing, DCIM is enhancing data centre capabilities and efficiency, providing the sector with what looks like a solid platform for future growth. So just what is DCIM, and why is it proving such a popular innovation?


DCIM: what is it?


DCIM is designed to maximise the productivity, efficiency and performance of data centres, thereby enabling it to meet clients' needs more effectively and minimising the risk of disruption. DCIM aims to integrate information technology and facility management, enabling more effective planning, monitoring and management of the data centre. Of course, DCIM is a fairly broad umbrella term which encompasses software, hardware and various management techniques. However, DCIM looks to build on existing infrastructural monitoring methods by complementing them with additional capabilities and power.


DCIM looks to introduce a range of new techniques and concepts to data centre management. These include multi-layered monitoring, optimisation of physical infrastructure, asset tracking, concentration of resources and maximising system utilisation, as well as more besides.


Why is DCIM proving so popular?


In a nutshell, perhaps the main reason that DCIM has taken off to such a dramatic extent over the last few years is that it makes it easier for data centre managers to keep tabs of their assets. This is particularly important because data centre managers are often tasked with the responsibility of looking after thousands of IT assets - so it should go without saying that anything which is likely to make this task easier is likely to be welcomed with open arms. Data centres are incredibly complex entities, and DCIM can significantly enhance managers' ability to keep tabs on the proliferation of assets under their control. In addition, DCIM also aims to improve energy efficiency - thereby reducing costs - and drastically reduce the risk of human error.


To give you some idea of just how popular DCIM has become in recent years, an analysis published by US research firm Gartner in December 2013 predicted that within four years, DCIM would be deployed within 60 per cent of larger data centres - specifically meaning those of over 6,000 sq ft - in North America. This rapid growth is almost certain to be replicated in other parts of the world as well, so the outlook appears bright both for DCIM and the data centre itself.

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