The end of DCIM is coming

Chris Crosby writes an entertaining post making an observation on DCIM’s attempt to be a star.  

I am copying Chris’s last paragraph. Please read the above post to get the context. 

”The world moves fast. Sometimes, things that look really good at first turn out to be not good enough. People loved silent movies, but they liked them better when they could hear the actors talk. While folks never have universally embraced DCIM, they liked the idea of it. It’s hard to say what the future holds for DCIM, Norma never gave up hope of returning to the silver screen. Of course, she wound up shooting William Holden in the back and, psychologically broken, she descended down a staircase to a gaggle of news cameras, declaring “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille”. I suspect that whatever DCIM’s ultimate fate is, it will be a little less dramatic.” 

What some of you may know is the number of people who would like to shoot their DCIM deployment and move on.   Or some of you will just let DCIM be turned into just another one of those tools that only a few use.

I have never been a big fan of DCIM. Why? Because whenever I would peak under the covers of the system I found it wasn’t meant to scale, or the automation wasn’t ready yet.  Or other issues that were best just left under the covers and hidden.

Why isn’t DCIM simply a use case of Industrial IOT platforms? 

If you made DCIM do all the things the sales team said it would, then there is no reason why it is not the Industrial IOT Platform.

DCIM Vendor Power Assure closes shop

DatacenterKnowledge post that DCIM vendor Power Assure has closed due to lack of funding.

Power Assure, a Santa Clara, California-based data center infrastructure management startup, has been dissolved, Clemens Pfeiffer, the company’s now former CTO, said.

The company failed to raise enough money to continue operating, he said, adding that he did not have any further details about what had led to the dissolution.

Below is the funding that Power Assure had.

It followed a $2.5 million Series A round in 2009 with an $11.25 million round the following year and a $14.5 million Series B in 2011. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the company a $5 million grant as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, also known as President Barack Obama’s “stimulus package.”

Investors in Power Assure included ABB Technology Ventures, Dominion Energy Technologies, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Good Energies and Point Judith Capital. The company had struck partnerships with numerous vendors, including VMware, Cisco, Dell, IBM, Intel, ABB, Raritan and In-Q-Tel.

DCIM has not taken off the way people thought, Why?

In the data center world there has been hype on DCIM.  Multiple start-ups have tried to build businesses on DCIM.  The electrical equipment supplier have added DCIM solutions.  Yet DCIM has not taken off.  I have had the pleasure or pain of seeing some DCIM implementations first hand and seen how they work or don’t.

So here are some of the reasons why I think DCIM has not lived up to its hype.

- Given the limited deployments many systems don’t scale well.

- Usability is not there yet.  Main focus has been to just get things to work.

- Manual data entry is required too many times.

- Decision makers who choose DCIM are not the operations staff, so there is a disconnect from expectations and reality.  Many people don’t know the operating expense of running a DCIM system.

- The data center market is actually a decreasing market from the total number of companies who are running data centers even though overall capacity is increasing.

- The big players have tried many of the services, and none is the killer app.

Given the hype is dying down it is pretty hard to launch a start-up targeting DCIM.  I would expect DCIM teams within electrical suppliers is finding it harder to get more resources and money given the limited sales.

If a DCIM solution scaled to 100K+ of servers, was easy to use,  automated data entry, bridged the reality of operations with executive expectations, a standard at the big data center users, then it would be the killer app.

I don’t see this happening any time soon.  Do you?  If you do which one of these can do it?


DCIM ≠ ECMA - 400 Smart Data Centre Resource Monitoring and Control Standard, Why Not?

I was chatting with Intel’s Henry Wong at Intel Developer Forum and he mentioned the ECMA-400 standard.



Operation of data centres requires management of storage, computation, communication, electrical energy and temperature to achieve the required quality of service and efficiency parameters. Often, however, the separate management of Information Technology (IT), electrical energy (or power) and cooling Resource islands yields a sub-optimal result. 

This Standard provides Messages that facilitate integrated or “smart” monitoring and control of Resources in those islands. The Messages are exchanged between the Management Function and Resources. The Standard acknowledges that those Resources may be composed of other Resources (e.g. a rack may contain servers, ventilators, etc.). In addition, e.g. those servers may be viewed from their computing, energy consumption or dissipation aspects which this Standard models as Resource Components and groups into IT, power and fluid Domains, respectively.

This specific seems like it should be associated with DCIM, but when I ran a google search on “ecma 400 dcim”  the results showed up without DCIM and when DCIM was used the 400 didn’t refer to the standard.

DCIM = ECMA-400 should be the state

DCIM ≠ ECMA-400 is the current state.  When will someone fix this?  Seems like someone out of all the DCIM vendors would be looking at working the ECMA-400.  

  • Smart Data Centre Resource Monitoring and Control - Ecma ...
    Ecma International
    Annex A (normative) ECMA-400 Edition 1 Resource configuration options ............. ................................. 27. A.1. SDC VM Allocation Option.
    Missing: dcim
  • Index of Ecma Standards - Ecma International
    Ecma International
    ECMA-328 · ECMA-341 · ECMA-370 · ECMA-383 · ECMA-389 · ECMA-393 · ECMA-400. Safety, EMC and EMF, Acoustical Emissions, Environmental Product  ...
    Missing: dcim
  • 2 - AltaTerra Research
    So his breakdowns are: 1) 480/277V AC, 2) 400/230V AC, 3) 48V DC, 4) 380V .... as the EPA, ECMA and Climate Savers that promote a similar goal and vision.

When you bridge the gap between IT and Facilities, where is your dictionary?

I get a good laugh whenever I see companies announce or promote they have a service/solution that will bridge the gap between IT and Facilities. DCIM is the latest service to be promoted as bridging the gap between IT and Facilities. But, guess what there is something more at the core of bridging the gap than technology.

Can IT and Facilities communicate? The reason there is a gap, a communication gap is because they use words in different ways.

To illustrate the communication gap that can exist when groups are separated without a common dictionary check out this post on The Guardian on South Korea’s efforts to create a common Korean dictionary to support the communication between the countries.

Two Koreas make strides to talk the same language

The Korean People's Comprehensive Dictionary will iron out the differences between the North and South

  • The Guardian, Friday 11 July 2014 12.22 EDT

Joo Yeon-ah did not realise how hard it would be to settle in South Korea. The 45-year-old defector says she was prepared for the dangerous journey out of North Korea, and the unfamiliarity of everyday devices such as mobile phones and cash machines.

But what she wasn't expecting was a communication barrier with people who spoke the same language.

"I didn't understand [what people were saying]," said Joo, who has lived in Seoul since 2009. "Everything is so different in South Korea, but I thought at least our language would be the same."

What she discovered is that after more than 60 years of division, different forms of the Korean language have evolved, with the South incorporating many words from English.

this work is not trivial.

Han says he and his South Korean colleagues have completed comprehensive definitions of more than 20,000 words. The completed dictionary is to contain more than 300,000 words.

When someone starts discussing a common dictionary between IT and Facilities then I’ll spend more time discussing how they are reconciling the differences in communication between the groups.