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Emerging DCIM Software Market To Grow 500% By 2015

The precise definition of data center infrastructure management appears to be in the eye of the beholder, but whatever DCIM is, it is growing rapidly, states 451 Research. In its inaugural DCIM software market-sizing report, 451 Research finds that 2010 revenues of $245 million will see a 39% compound annual growth rate through 2015 to $1.3 billion, says Andy Lawrence, research director, eco-efficient IT and data center technologies.

"There's a big bunch of functions that software needs to do to manage the data center," he says. "Until 18 months ago, that software went under different names, and only recently is it going under the name of DCIM."

In addition to computers, storage and networks, the data center infrastructure includes power systems, air conditioning, uninterrupted power supplies and generators, and the associated switching equipment. Gartner predicts that DCIM will grow from last year's 1% penetration to 60% by 2014 (DCIM: Going Beyond IT, Gartner Research, March 2010). DCIM involves software for managing the overall assets, resources and status of the data center, enabling the data center to be managed more proactively and efficiently.

Lawrence says the DCIM market can be divided into five stages--basic, reactive, proactive, optimizing and autonomic--with the market currently somewhere between basic and reactive. Moving into another phase requires investing more in DCIM, which will make everything more efficient, he adds.

Focused exclusively on the DCIM software space, the 451 report incorporates revenue estimates and forecasts for each of the 38 vendors it identified. Lawrence says only one vendor had DCIM revenues in excess of $50 million, with 20 having annual revenues under $3 million.

A lot of the vendors provide only one or two DCIM components, with a handful of vendors trying to provide a more complete solution, he says. A fairly recent development is the emergence of suites, which will take greater precedence in the future, says Lawrence. "About 68% of the market is taken by suites already ... [and] that will grow to 74%, but somewhere around a quarter will remain around specialist or point solutions."

He believes that current DCIM penetration is very low, single digits, and that many data centers are being managed with spreadsheets like Excel or other "simple" tools. There were a number of reasons for this, he says, ranging from the software not being very good until two to three years ago, and the good software being very expensive. "The return on investment is real, but indirect," says Lawrence.

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