Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is the convergence of IT and building facilities functions within an organization. The goal of a DCIM initiative is to provide administrators with a holistic view of a data center’s performance so that energy, equipment and floor space are used as efficiently as possible.
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Data center infrastructure management started out as a component of building information modeling (BIM) software, which is used by facilities managers to create building digital schematic diagrams. DCIM tools bring the same capabilities to data centers, allowing administrators to collate, store and analyze data related to power and cooling in real time. Most tools permit diagrams to be printed out — a useful feature when maintenance is required or data center administrators need to install new equipment.
DCIM tools can help administrators locate and identify relationships between a building and its IT systems. Energy-monitoring sensors and supporting hardware can be installed along all points of the power infrastructure so the DCIM software can accurately aggregate and analyze power usage effectiveness (PUE) and cooling system energy efficiency. Some organizations will couple DCIM with computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis to optimize air flow and systems placement to further reduce cooling expenses. This type of approach is called continuous modeling. Continuous modeling allows the administrator to observe and quantify the engineering cause and effect of proposed IT or infrastructure changes before any money has been spent.