Do you want DCIM (Infrastructure Management) or DCOM (Operations Management)?

DCIM is a topic almost all data center executives have heard and many have evaluated.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is an emerging (2012) 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 of the resources within the data center.

DCIM has not taken over the industry. Companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft build their own solutions.  Here is a question.  Does the data center need Infrastructure Management or Operations Management? Operations Management is a mature concept.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, operations management is the field concerned with managing and directing the physical and/or technical functions of afirm or organization, particularly those relating to development, production, and manufacturing. Operations management programs typically include instruction in principles of general management, manufacturing and production systems, plant management, equipment maintenance management, production control, industrial labor relations and skilled trades supervision, strategic manufacturing policy, systems analysis, productivity analysis and cost control, and materials planning.[1][2]Management, including operations management, is like engineering in that it blends art with applied science. People skills, creativity, rational analysis, and knowledge of technology are all required for success.

MIT and other universities target Operations Management.  The below could easily be applied to data centers.

What is Operations Management?

Operations Management deals with the design and management of products, processes, services and supply chains. It considers the acquisition, development, and utilization of resources that firms need to deliver the goods and services their clients want.

The purvey of OM ranges from strategic to tactical and operational levels. Representative strategic issues include determining the size and location of manufacturing plants, deciding the structure of service or telecommunications networks, and designing technology supply chains.

Tactical issues include plant layout and structure, project management methods, and equipment selection and replacement. Operational issues include production scheduling and control, inventory management, quality control and inspection, traffic and materials handling, and equipment maintenance policies.

I would bet if more people were building Operations Management systems for the data center, then there would be a higher chance of DCOM being used than DCIM.

There may be some who say their DCIM solution does DCOM.  But, my question is where is the Operations Management expert in your company?

Here is a Google data point to prove Operations Management is a valued skill - their Director of Operations and Strategy for the data center group.


Director, Operations Strategy & Decision Support

March 2011 – Present (2 years 5 months)

Lead a team of quantitative analysts to provide model-based decision support for Google's cloud infrastructure planning. Scope includes datacenter capacity planning, fleet planning, compute and storage resource optimization, network planning, and supply chain planning.

And what degree does he have?  PhD Management Science & Engineering.


Stanford University

PhD, Management Science & Engineering
1996 – 2001

• Expertise: applications of advanced analytics to business and public policy problems. 
• Dissertation: dynamic pricing of capacity in relationship-based supply chains.
• Advanced analytics coursework: decision analysis, probability and statistics, systems modeling and optimization, simulation, economic analysis, mathematical finance, advanced supply chain models.