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Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is an emerging new form of data center management which extends the more traditional systems and network management approaches to now include the physical and asset-level components. DCIM leverages the integration of information technology (IT) and facility management disciplines to centralize monitoring, management, and intelligent capacity planning of a data center’s critical systems. Essentially it provides a significantly more comprehensive view of all the resources within the data center.

The deployment of a successful DCIM solution is achieved through the implementation of specialized software, hardware and sensors. The promise of DCIM is to enable a common, real-time monitoring and management platform for all interdependent systems across IT and facility infrastructures. Over the longer term, a great deal of intelligence will be added upon this structure as well as highly specialized automation capabilities to create a dynamic infrastructure that can actually self-adjust or tune itself to more closely match data center resource supply with workload demand. With over 100 vendors self-proclaiming themselves as offering components that fit within the DCIM landscape, the rapid evolution of this DCIM category is leading to the creation of many associated data center performance management and measurement capabilities, including DCeP – Data Center Energy Productivity and DCPM – Data Center Predictive Modeling with the intention to provide increasingly cost effective operations support for certain aspects of the data center.

The bottom line is that the physical layer has increasingly become the single point of IT operational dependency in a world of increasing convergence. DCIM is the natural evolution of this process. The physical layer is now being treated with the same level of priority as the logical layer. Investments in managing the logical layer are shifting to investments in managing the physical layer.