A year ago we coined the term DCIM 3.0 to describe the evolution we were seeing in the Data Center Infrastructure Management software marketplace. Namely that new challenges would drive a trend to a ‘next generation DCIM’.
DCIM 3.0 identifies 3 waves of this software evolution: DCIM 1.0 in the 1980s with small UPSs on PC servers that drove the need for software to manage them; DCIM 2.0 in the 2000s when PC servers became rack mounted and started moving into data centers, which created new planning challenges for space, power, and cooling capacity; and DCIM 3.0 in the 2020s when the pandemic highlighted the mission critical nature of IT infrastructure everywhere – not just classical data centers.
We posited that sprawling hybrid IT (“data centers without boundaries”) and our subsequent dependence on the availability of IT created unique challenges to maintaining resiliency. Companies need more visibility to geographically dispersed sites because there is usually no onsite staff to manage the infrastructure.
We also argued that rising cybersecurity threats create new challenges to ensure this large attack surface inside and outside the traditional data center is secure. In fact, there has been a 40% increase in companies reporting they were the victims of a cybersecurity attack.
We also speculated that sustainability and ‘Green IT’ would start rising on the priority list for most organizations.
These trends, if true, have significant implications on our traditional view of DCIM and require a reboot of the market. So, one year later, we have to ask: were we right? Is there a new wave of DCIM developing?
Does our DCIM theory hold up one year later?
For our theory to be right, we basically need four assertions to be true:
- The hybrid IT environment is here to stay.
- Resiliency challenges will remain a top priority.
- Cybersecurity concerns will drive the need for better management tools.
- Sustainability will emerge as a priority for CIOs.
We’ve spoken with customers, looked at many statistics like those from the Allianz risk barometer, and researched media articles to draw some conclusions. So, much of this is anecdotal evidence but evidence nonetheless!
First: The hybrid IT environment is here to stay. In every conversation, article, and conference I’ve attended in the last year, I have heard no one argue that hybrid IT is going to go away. There are debates about what it might look like, but no one seems to question the existence for far into the future. It seems safe to say: this assertion is true.
Second: Resiliency challenges will remain a challenge. One would think that in all the years that IT has been in existence we would have solved the resiliency challenge. But we haven’t solved it. We still hear about the FAA grounding flights because of computer issues, water leaks causing a battery fire, hospitals delaying surgeries due to data center outages, and even finals getting interrupted at Wichita State University. We continue to face challenges in making a resilient IT infrastructure. This assertion we rate as true.
Third: Cybersecurity concerns will drive the need for better tools. According to the Allianz Risk Barometer, cyber incidents are the #1 type of business interruption that companies fear most – at 45%. That’s higher than energy crisis (35%) and natural catastrophes (31%). We also know the vast majority of OT devices in the market do not run the latest firmware. We need better tools to help IT organizations keep their devices secure. This assertion we rate as true.
Fourth: Sustainability will emerge as a priority for IT organizations. Of all our assertions, I believed this one was most speculative in nature. Since then, we’ve seen articles in the Wall Street Journal, CIO magazine, and InformationWeek as well as other media outlets highlighting that “CIOs need to take note” or “Confront Sustainability Mandates”. I would rate this assertion as “not yet” but it is vectoring as a rising priority.
If I were a kid again and asked my sister’s magic 8 ball if we’re right about DCIM 3.0, the answer shown would be “signs point to yes.”
Covering the market shift to hybrid IT data centers
So, on the anniversary of coining the term DCIM 3.0 and announcing that we were modernizing our EcoStruxure IT suite of offers to cover the market shift to hybrid IT data centers, you might wonder what’s changed.
And I am more than happy to tell you.
EcoStruxure IT is solving customer challenges with on-premise and cloud-based solutions for monitoring and management with enhancements to IT Expert, Data Center Expert, and NetBotz. And we are doing the same for planning and modeling with enhancements to IT Advisor in addition to offering custom solutions and integrations.
We are meeting the needs of CIOs who are tasked with managing the IT infrastructure in global data centers that span on-prem, colocation, cloud, and edge. And we are meeting the needs of colocation facilities by satisfying tenant requirements for security and sustainability, helping them go beyond meeting the SLAs to provide real-time visibility.
One year in, we are excited about where DCIM is headed as we help customers simplify what has become a complex and confusing IT landscape. We’re investing in our DCIM software business and investing in our channel, partners, and customers. Our sustainability efforts are helping customers and partners with solutions to make the most of their energy. Be sure to stay tuned because there is a lot more to come!