The industry is thrilled to see the first version of the DCIM Magic Quadrant published by Gartner. The Magic Quadrant is a industry recognized benchmark which has been published for about 60 technologies as a way of ranking the 20 or so of the most visible vendors that offer this type of solution in two specific ways; 1) Completeness of Vision and 2) Ability to Execute.
The horizontal axis “Completeness of Vision” is a measure of the scope of the problems each vendor is trying to solve. Gartner has established a set of problems that each technology category should be addressing, and then they interpret each vendor’s stated plans and those of their customers towards this problem set. The vertical axis, “Ability to Execute” is all about the vendor’s ability to act upon those goals. Their ability to deliver solutions to those problems. The exciting part is this research process involves actual production customers of each vendor, so the resulting matrix is not just theory, but includes a bit of tangible value setting. And on a final note, the ranking provided by the Magic Quadrant is for each vendor compared to the quadrant vision and execution metrics, NOT against each other per se. What that means is two of more vendors found on the same Magic Quadrant may in fact be complementary to each other if they have each implemented mutually exclusive subsets of the bigger vision.
No wonder that as soon as these Magic Quadrants are published, a lot of chest-thumping goes on. Each vendor takes their turn at spinning the results to position them most favorably. Not a bad thing and frankly that is what “marketing’ is all about. Facts are facts, but how those facts pertain to each prospect’s world takes a bit of guidance and time.
I welcome all of the vendors found in the DCIM Magic Quadrant to reach out to those new end-user pioneers that are considering DCIM for their data centers and help guide their problem articulation and search. Discuss with them (in great detail) what THEY need today and tomorrow and then talk about what YOUR company offers in THEIR terms. Be candid and set expectations properly. Remember nobody wins by getting halfway down the road with a project that fails. I also encourage the complementary vendors that didn’t necessarily participate in the DCIM Magic Quadrant to join in too. There are some pretty compelling partnerships forming, great companies that have worked together technically to bring best-of-breed solutions to the market when asked to do so.
Above all, END-USERS needs to be figuring out how to get on this “DCIM train”. The Global 5000 end-users who own racks of gear that reside in one or more data centers should be planning and budgeting for DCIM today. DCIM is not a FAD that will go away. The very existence of a Gartner Magic Quadrant underscores the tangible business value of DCIM today, and those IT professionals that miss this train altogether will be wishing in pretty short-order that they hadn’t…
The first ever Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Infrastructure Management Tools has been published, and the team here at Nlyte is delighted and extremely proud. As one of the companies who helped define the DCIM market over 10 years ago, we’ve garnered some of the best customers in the market…… we manage some of the most sophisticated data centers in the world and we are constantly challenged to raise the bar on the business value DCIM can provide customers.
We are listed as one of four leaders in the DCIM Tools Magic Quadrant. What makes that especially rewarding for the Nlyte team is:
- We know we are the only dedicated DCIM provider in the Leaders quadrant – we are a focused software vendor with no hidden hardware agenda – DCIM software is what we live, eat, and breathe. Our goal is to optimize data centers and minimize the hardware required. While other companies try to push hardware or other solutions we strive to optimize.
- We know we are the only small cap company in the Leaders quadrant. Being the small guy has its benefits – just ask David! We are nimble and extremely focused on our customers and their needs. Our sole purpose is to make sure Nlyte’s DCIM solutions provide the best business value possible. Although we are an established company, we still think like a startup, constantly innovating with the ability to act faster and always raising the DCIM bar! All we want is for our customers to get maximum value from our DCIM solutions.
We are delighted to be recognized as a leader in Gartner’s inaugural DCIM Tools Magic Quadrant, and we want to express our gratitude to a variety of folks. First, we want to thank our customers. Nlyte has the best customers in the world. We have industry leading brands using our technology, who use Nlyte in over 1000 data centers around the world and we are fortunate to have these amazing customers constantly guiding us and helping us improve “our game.”
Second, we would like to thank Gartner. We appreciate them scrutinizing our references and our solution and ultimately recognizing us as a leader. Gartner is a tough analyst firm but we appreciate their objectivity and analysis. It keeps us motivated as we strive to be the best of the best.
Last, but certainly not least – a big thank you to the entire Nlyte team. Our company is one of the hardest working and most dedicated group of pros in the business, always striving for 100 percent customer satisfaction and focusing on improving the product to achieve that goal. This is a big milestone for the organization and I want to thank everyone who helps makes Nlyte one of the best DCIM solutions on the market, and a really great place to work. Congratulations – you earned this!
To view the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for DCIM Tools click here.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
It’s an exciting time in the world of DCIM. As the market matures, DCIM is getting more attention, gaining momentum and its role of optimizing mission-critical facility operations is being understood more clearly. We are also seeing the “hype” around DCIM fading, as companies are concentrating more on the fundamental benefits of the solution.
It’s important to note that DCIM software is a category – not a single application, just as “desktop software” encompasses many different applications. As evidence, the leading analysts in this space, 451 Group and Gartner, are analyzing DCIM not as a monolithic, single solution anymore, but as a number of various, inter-related modules.
Hence, DCIM should be considered as a category, from which a solution can be customized to answer the needs of the end-user. A user can implement the specific pieces of the software that apply to their specific needs. When planning to implement multiple applications, it is important for data center operators to understand how the software pieces must inter-relate — this is critical for data center IT and Facility management considering DCIM implementation. Many of us will recall how more than a decade ago, the IT side moved away from running independent IT management systems in “silos,” and moved more towards a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) where each module could speak to other modules in a controlled, predefined, fashion. Some of these very IT systems – trouble ticketing systems, CMDBs, and workflow management – which drove the adoption of SOA — are the same applications with which today’s organizations are trying to integrate their various DCIM tools.
While there are numerous functional modules within the broad category of DCIM, the foundation of DCIM rests atop two fundamental modules: DCIM Monitoring and IT Asset Management.
Either of these two, or, better, these two basic modules working together, provides the fundamental layer of data, and offer direct, tangible benefits. They can also enable a number of DCIM “applications” including Capacity Planning, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Dynamic/Adaptive Cooling and IT/Server Control systems, to name just a few. The applications turn the data into recommendations or direct actions.
The 451 Group’s recent report estimates the DCIM Monitoring market to be 67 times bigger than the CFD market, and IT Asset Management is 40 times bigger than CFD, and growing slightly faster. Data center operators are now focusing more on getting the basics right and implementing these two areas first, rather than starting with the various “applications” and trying to get them implemented without the underlying flow of information about what you have in the data center, and how it is performing over time.
This evolution in the market’s understanding of DCIM has driven DCIM vendors to specialize and focus on being “best of breed” in one or more areas of DCIM, , rather than try superficially to deliver every single module of DCIM (the “Swiss Army Knife” approach). For a successful integration and deployment of DCIM, mission-critical IT and Facilities teams should focus on vendors that concentrate on DCIM Monitoring and Capacity Planning, as well as “Big Data” Analytics which can help translate all the collected data into insight and actionable recommendations.
We should note that DCIM can be extended even further, and integrated with IT Services Management (ITSM) applications into something 451 calls “DCSO” (Data Center Service Optimization).
Notwithstanding the hype this area gets, DCIM is 8.5 times bigger than DCSO, and growing at a faster pace, and of course, in order to implement DCSO, one must have implemented the basics of DCIM first.
We can now confidently declare that DCIM is truly coming of age.
In a recent article published over on Processor.com and entitled “DCIM done Right” I was thrilled to see both Gartner and Forrester chiming in on the fascinating world of DCIM and providing some insight into how end-user could start planning for their own implementations, along with a healthy dose of expectation setting. Both David Cappuccio of Gartner and Richard Fichera of Forrester have been sheepherding the DCIM segment for years and in this article have shared their opinions on the value of DCIM today, some specific things to consider and where end-users might start their journey.
A quick summary of their collective points with some context as covered in the publication:
- Determine your goals. Ask everyone that could be connected with DCIM now and in the future and capture each of their set of needs. This will identify WHY you are buying DCIM, and will be critically important when conducting your evaluation process.
- Inventorying your assets is essential. The DCIM model must be started somehow and there are various means available to do so ranging from automated to manual. Although this may appear daunting at first, it is actually very straightforward and the place to start each deployment. Technologies that will likely be leveraged will include Barcode, electronic import, CMDBs, etc.
- A well implemented DCIM system becomes the system of record, the source of truth, and usually more respected than older G/L based asset management since it includes more physical detail. Treat this seriously and get it right since DCIM will be the cornerstone of your structure going forward.
- Optimizing Power and Cooling can be thought of as low-hanging DCIM fruit and may yield 20% in savings due to energy and thermal management efforts alone… but that is just the beginning of the value of DCIM as there is a whole slew of non-trivial IT-process oriented savings.
- Space management is one of the major opportunities with DCIM. Optimal placement of devices is a key value, as well as understanding your consumption of space (the square feet) as a trend is a critical capacity planning benefit of DCIM (Bonus: See Cappuccio’s report Doc ID #235289 for a discussion about DCSE, his proposed Data Center Space Efficiency metric)
- No DCIM offering will do everything. Regardless of what you hear, you will need to fill in the gaps for every offering by adding other solutions to your plan. Consider vendors that have demonstrated their willingness to work with other players in the DCIM space.
- DCIM is much more valuable when it is connected to ITSM systems (like change management and CMDBs). A key observation when deploying DCIM is that many times the existing processes are flawed, so modeling and executing them in a new DCIM suite will just propagate the inefficiency. DCIM initiatives therefore become the catalyst to re-think your best practices to assure they are modern and fit the CURRENT business’ needs.
- DCIM implementations will require startup services and you should discuss these requirements up front with your selected vendor to properly set everyone’s expectations. Services should be about deployment, not about new features that are missing.
- Start with just the set of new capabilities that you and your team can handle. Major DCIM offerings can be built up in capability over time. Purchase what you need from a reputable vendor that is committed to progress their solution and has demonstrated this maturation in the past.
- Train your people. Get them comfortable with each new component to the point that these new capabilities become part of their daily routines. Then add analytics and reporting deliverables that are valuable to each of them uniquely.
These are basic rules of thumb and set some very pragmatic expectations. I applaud Dave and Richard’s comments and common sense. The year 2014 has already proven to be the year many forward-looking major organizations began their DCIM journey….
(Note: this blog is a excerpted from the full article in Data Center Knowledge: http://bit.ly/1kBsPAf)
I recently had the opportunity to not only exhibit at the Gartner Infrastructure and Operations show, but to attend several sessions in an effort to soak up the latest and greatest in the industry. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Gartner was saying a lot of what we, at Nlyte, have been observing. Notably:
IT services are built on assets and processes – In order to build an IT service portfolio, you need a catalog of IT services, which are built upon processes and assets, upon which services and finally value can be created.
Figure 1: Nlyte’s interpretation of a presentation by Debra Curtis and Suzanne Adnams of Gartner.
Change is a collaborative process – Professor Eddie Obeng of the Henley School of Business gave the opening keynote, “Transforming with Confidence.” I was thinking about how his animated presentation could apply to someone thinking about bringing DCIM into their organization, but might be meeting resistance because their audience isn’t familiar with DCIM. Professor Obeng indicated that in order to see change, you need to reduce the level of fear, and data can help reduce that.
Business value trumps all – Jeff Brooks, the event co-host made this point in his session, “Tell the Story with Business Value Dashboards.” It came up repeatedly to the extent that infrastructure and operations teams need to convey what 99.5 percent uptime means to the business and therefore to the executive team.
Business value has a specific “speak” – Business value metrics of transactions per hour, capacity utilization to plan and unplanned downtime can be greatly affected by things the infrastructure and operations team focuses on: Connectivity, Security and Compliance, Service Support and Continuity, as well as Hardware and Software – all things that DCIM helps manage.
More expensive assets have lower total cost of ownership – Jay Pultz’s session exhibited that two-thirds of the cost increase is due to staff maintaining a “cheaper” server.