Data center infrastructure management, or DCIM, tools are about the second hottest trend in IT -- followed, of course, by cloud computing. The market is inundated with companies new and old that are offering software- and hardware-based tools to measure, manage and reduce the energy demand of the data center.
Viridity today released the version 2.0 of its own DCIM solution, EnergyCenter, with a number of enhancements that build on the suite's existing features as well as fold in new elements that bring the data center more closely in line with business imperatives.
"The biggest challenge we see is organizationally," Chris Rocca, Viridity's VP of engineering, explained in an interview. "That is, how can we help the facilities and IT and business organizations come together and collaborate in a way that they haven't done in the past."
As companies migrate toward private or public cloud infrastructures (trend number 1, remember), there is growing need for the IT department, which keeps the software running, to work hand-in-glove with the facilities department, which keeps the power flowing to the data center.
The two groups have historically been siloed, though as IT breaks down barriers to play a part in every aspect of the enterprise -- from computing to facility management to energy generation -- there are more and more tools to help the two groups work together.
With EnergyCenter 2.0, the software has evolved to help accurately track which departments are using how much compute time, and how much energy to run those servers. The process of chargebacks -- billing departments for their IT and energy usage -- has gotten inordinately complicated as virtualization merges once-separate hardware and software across divisions of a company.
EnergyCenter 2.0 allows companies to manually group and filter assets based on whatever criteria are needed, thereby making departmental chargebacks -- or any kind of resource-tracking -- a simple process. Version 2.0 also builds in heat-mapping and advance alert features to keep impending failures on the radar, and adds more depth to the company's genome database of server types.
But at its core, DCIM is a green IT solution -- even if Rocca was clear on the fact that green IT doesn't open doors for them. He said that while CSR initiatives coming down from the C-Suite have helped Viridity make some of their recent sales, IT managers and facility managers alike look at DCIM tools like EnergyCenter as a tool to get more computing from the same amount of space and power.
Doug Washburn, a research director and principal analyst at Forrester, explained during a conversation about the larger DCIM market that although the principles behind green IT are not going away, it's a term that's being used less and less, especially in the DCIM space.
"[DCIM] is focused on availability, resiliency, the sort of mom and apple pie of what data center managers focus on," Washburn said. "Frankly, they're not goaled in most cases on becoming efficient, let alone energy-efficient or more carbon-efficient."
In the eight months since we first looked at Viridity's software, the company won a Green Enterprise IT Award from the Uptime Institute for Outstanding IT Product. So although the DCIM space is crowded to the point of confusion, EnergyCenter 2.0 is worth keeping an eye on.
We'll have a much bigger and broader look at the DCIM market in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on the state of DCIM, and where it falls on the tech hype cycle.