Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is the convergence of IT and data center facilities functions within an organization. The goal is to improve the efficiency of energy use, optimize equipment layouts, support virtualization and consolidation, develop more strategic planning and enhance the overall availability of the data center. DCIM typically relies on software tools for real-time systems analysis, control and planning.
When properly implemented, DCIM can provide a holistic view of the facility from the rack or cabinet level to the cooling infrastructure to the building’s energy utilization. DCIM tools can also help administrators locate and identify relationships between the facility and IT systems which may compromise data center resilience. DCIM tools can be used to measure energy use and facilitate energy conservation tactics that can reduce data center operating expenses. Some organizations will couple DCIM with computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis to optimize air flow and systems placement to further reduce cooling expenses.
Energy-monitoring sensors and supporting hardware must be installed along all points of the power infrastructure so the DCIM software can accurately aggregate and analyze power usage effectiveness (PUE) and cooling system energy efficiency. However, some vendors offer software-only DCIM tools that can integrate with existing monitoring hardware. Converged infrastructure platforms such as Cisco Systems’ Unified Computing System (UCS) frequently include DCIM tools as part of the converged infrastructure package.