I've worked on lots of complex software projects at Apple and Microsoft. 6 years ago I started working on data centers and before DCIM was a buzz word I worked on some projects that were the early forerunners of DCIM. When I was doing this I had no desire to start a company or join a company that was building DCIM. Why? I just thought it would be too hard to get users to buy the right thing vs. buying what they thought they needed.
Here is CA says DCIM is.
Data center infrastructure management(DCIM) from CA Technologies provides a web-based centralized solution for monitoring power, cooling and environmentals across facilities and IT systems in the data center as well as managing the use of space and lifecycle of assets which make up the data center infrastructure. CA DCIM is capable of taking data from highly diverse devices and systems using SNMP or other protocols such as BACnet or Modbus. CA DCIM will also allow your organization to track assets within the data center and understand them in data center space using powerful 3D visualization. In addition, CA DCIM enables integration of data center infrastructure management with broader IT Management and business service provision.
This works for the executive sell and is fairly representative of what others say DCIM does.
Given I could build a DCIM solution, I look at it differently.
First and most important is the DCIM easy to use. Do the operators welcome the system or do they see it as another system they need to input data to, login, and add to their frustration. Show me a DCIM system that makes the task of operations easier, then it would get my interest. The above is like a description of an ERP system. How many of you want to go through the same pains of an ERP deployment in your data center?
Second, is the system built on a state of the art high performance platform that will scale and respond quickly. If the system can handle 1,000-10,000s of transactions a second, then it can scale and under every day use should perform quickly. It is amazing when you look under the covers and you see system design. Look to see whether it will scale.
Third is the system highly available. Are there three nodes working to keep the service up and running? Two nodes might work. Three nodes or more means the failure of the DCIM service is lower what you are measuring. Trying to operate a data center when the DCIM tool is down can be done, but many times means lots of data entry is needed later. Who wants that. If you see only one node in the system, then run.
There are many features of a DCIM system. If it is not easy to use, scales, and highly available, then I would walk away and continue your search.