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North American Data Center Equipment Integration

  • November 2013
  • 41 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 1870979


Table of Contents

A Nascent DCIM Market Requires Increased Standardization to Drive Growth

Prior to the dawn of the data center infrastructure management (DCIM) era, monitoring was conducted manually within a traditional data center, essentially with separate management solutions provided for each type of equipment in the building. Integral to the equipment in the data center is the ability to monitor it on a regular basis and to provide adequate tools for pre-emptive problem solving. The goal is to achieve high-energy efficiency and optimize on expenditure. This market insight provides a top-level analysis of equipment integration within the data center market using software protocols—particularly DCIM, BMS, and IFM. This market insight provides a bird’s eye view of trends in the BMS, DCIM, and IFM spaces.


• Building management systems (BMS) provide hardware and software integration for a variety of building types from airports and large commercial establishments to offices and data centers.
• Prior to the data center infrastructure management (DCIM) era, monitoring was conducted manually within a traditional data center, essentially with separate management solutions provided for each type of equipment in the building.
• The network and the physical infrastructure in the data center needed a unified management protocol. The inherent need for infrastructure management solutions caused DCIM to gain popularity among data center owners.
• The data center environment presents a unique need to integrate power, cooling, and IT equipment with the goal to ensure higher efficiency and optimal power utilization.
• The DCIM protocol is purely a software solution and is used to integrate specific aspects of the data center.
• Integrated facilities management (IFM) solutions, on the other hand, can be hardware and software based.
• This market insight provides a bird’s eye view of trends in the BMS, DCIM, and IFM spaces.
• The IFM is the largest market among the X areas analyzed. It is an array of services and relevant equipment that encompasses a complete facility management solution.
• The building automation and network management protocol combined offer a BMS.
• The DCIM protocol is specific to data centers and helps integrate them. It is essentially a combination of the building and network management protocol.

Key Findings

• The DCIM market is gaining importance in North America as this complex competitive landscape is in its market growth phase.
• Increased interest in DCIM is emerging as a result of greater insight needed into data center equipment and its efficient management.
• DCIM growth is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of X% from 2013 through 2017.
• The key restraint is both the lack of standardized software offerings and an increase in the level of customization needed, which comes at a price premium.
• Spending on management solutions is expected to gain momentum during and beyond the forecast period, 2013-2017.
• BMS are increasingly integrated with IT systems, inducing a declining interest level.
• The building automation systems market is expected to witness a CAGR of X% from 2011 through 2016.
• The IFM market in North America was an estimated $X billion in 2012 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of X%.

Market Overview

Key Takeaway
Data center complexity from IT to facilities to eliminate multiple ownership centers creates the need for software integration.

The typical data center scenario:
• Core equipment growth: IT servers, backup power, cooling
• Supporting equipment growth: racks, cable management, PDUs
• Comparable magnitude of growth in monitoring/management solutions
DCIM: Greater oversight

The typical data center scenario:
• Challenges with bridging IT and facilities management
• Increasing complexity of the IT environment
DCIM: Easy trouble shooting

The typical data center scenario:
• Efficient change management—installation and decommissioning
• Integrating legacy facilities
• Reducing operational expenditure
DCIM: Pre-emptive problem solving

Market Drivers

• Increased need for higher energy efficiency drives the need for DCIM solutions
• Increased power and heat density propels the need for greater oversight
• Complexity of data center design requires stringent monitoring
• Increased need for a user-friendly interface to manage data centers
• Increased consolidation, virtualization, and cloud computing drive need for DCIM solutions
• Concerns with energy wastage, redundancy, and space utilization drove need for DCIM solutions

Drivers Explained

Increased Need for Higher Energy Efficiency
Data centers are constantly pushed to their limits concerning energy efficiency. The evaluation of stand-alone equipment does not always provide an accurate picture of the total energy efficiency or power usage in a data center. The ability to accurately gauge which specific equipment has a higher power draw, works less efficiently, or provides an excess of heat to the total data center setup does not exist. Therefore, data centers need software solutions that provide visibility into the functioning of all equipment, thereby enabling an accurate analysis of problems and the best solutions for them. The introduction of DCIM-based software protocols have enabled greater insight into the total data center efficiency as opposed to the fragmented data previously available on individual equipment. This translates into utilizing computing methods designed to promote energy efficiency within data centers.

Increased Power and Heat Density
Various power draws, backup power, and cooling equipment—including the plethora of IT equipment lining the data center walls—create ample sources of heat in the data center. While heat can be an equipment killer, its distribution certainly lacks uniformity and causes some areas to be at a higher risk than other areas such as those with lower heat density. Power usage is on the rise with the increasing density of data storage and functionality being undertaken at the micro-structure level of IT equipment in data centers. In response, servers are doubling their power use to be able to cater to the increased demands being put on them. Each of these factors plays a critical role in the data center environment, and a need remains to increase oversight on equipment use and functioning, heat distribution, and power consumption at the total level. This oversight becomes available through the interface provided by DCIM protocols employed in the data center environment, thereby driving the need for DCIM solutions.

Complexity of Data Center Design
The complexity of design within a data center has significantly increased over the last decade. Legacy data centers have turned into powerhouses of vast information concentrated at the microscopic level. The latest trend to foster virtualization, cloud computing, and consolidation has contributed to the rise in data center complexity. However, it is humanly impossible to manually maintain and ensure consistent equipment performance in the data center facility on a daily/systematic basis. DCIM software enables greater oversight into every linked aspect of the data center and provides the opportunity for timely troubleshooting to preemptively avoid downtime.

Increased Need for a User-friendly Interface
DCIM software essentially provides a user-friendly interface for data center managers that is visually-impressive detail found on particular equipment. These details may need to be assessed by priority on a daily\weekly basis, for example, heat maps showing areas of high heat, battery status showing nearly dying or dead batteries, or under-performing strings in the UPS or equipment that shows potential for higher levels of failure, all of which are areas of immediate concern. This display creates a dynamic and proactive approach to data center management. DCIM-based software provides a platform that enables a reasonably qualified operator to succinctly communicate specific data center needs.

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