The adoption rate of DCIM (data center infrastructure management) is fairly, strong, according to the DCIM Solution Deployment study commissioned by Intel and Schneider Electric. Morar Consulting interviewed around 200 CIO, CTOs, IT and data center managers, half in the US and half in the UK, and found a majority are using DCIM. 

We found that current DCIM adoption is fairly strong – four out of five data centers have some sort of solution deployed and are already reaping major benefits from its implementation. As data center footprints continue to grow and management strategies mature, more and more IT teams turn to powerful tools like a DCIM solution that provide both an increased level of visibility into their infrastructure and a greater level of efficiency.


Automation is the key

Solving the issue of manual, time-intensive tasks was the highest driver of implementation – it was the top catalyst for implementation, with 57 percent of managers indicating this was the biggest reason to seek out a solution.

It’s worth pointing out that automating processes, while the most attractive feature for implementation, is not the primary reason those with a positive outlook on their current DCIM solution are happy with it. In fact, identifying legacy systems (41 percent of respondents) is far and away the biggest reason for their satisfaction. Cost savings or ROI on their DCIM investment ranks right with automating processes at 29 percent of respondents. So while automating processes is the top catalyst for implementation, DCIM adopters realize other significant benefits post-adoption.

Differences between the US and the UK 

This survey was split 50-50 between UK and US respondents, which gave us a great snapshot of each market and the ability to compare side-by-side. There’s a large gap between deployment – 90 percent of US-based respondents had deployed a DCIM solution, nearly 20 points higher than the 71 percent of UK respondents surveyed. This hints at a more mature data center ecosystem in the US, and could also hint at differences in data center footprints.

Another factor that contributes to the stark contrast in deployment rates is the feature importance of a DCIM tool in both regions. As referenced earlier, automation is the main driver to implementation; however, US respondents with a DCIM tool revealed they value automation at twice the rate of their UK counterparts – 14 percent compared to seven percent, respectively. US and UK respondents simply view the value of a DCIM solution differently, which ultimately leads to lower adoption from UK data center managers.

Cost savings

There were a couple numbers in this report that really jumped out at us. The first was cost-savings: we know automating processes and overhauling legacy systems saves both time and money, but what we saw is that over half of survey respondents with a DCIM solution see a savings of 25 percent or more. That number jumps to 65 percent of respondents saving a quarter of their budget when we look exclusively at large enterprises.

Automating processes saves time and money: half of those with DCIM had saved 25 percent or more

There were a couple other differentiators between large and small enterprises. It should come as no surprise that large enterprises are much more concerned with energy consumption; a bigger data center means a higher energy bill and more opportunity to save cost at scale. Despite this, 53 percent of large enterprises said simply getting budget approval was the tipping point to implementation versus only 32 percent of small businesses. Large enterprises stand to see the strongest returns from implementation but have to lobby the hardest in order to reach that point.

A bright future

We’re confident DCIM deployment numbers will continue to rise. Nearly seven out of ten (69 percent) of respondents have some sort of DCIM deployment plan for the next 18 months. Forward-looking UK deployment plans continue to pace behind US adoption, suggesting the sizable gap between regional deployments will continue to persist. Of those without a DCIM solution, 28 percent still report being in the dark about how such a tool would benefit their infrastructure and team, indicating educational barriers exist alongside the budget battle. Should these managers get smart about the value that comes with a DCIM solution, the budget conversation should be an easier one that ultimately allows more managers to reap the benefits of such a solution.

Jeff Klaus is general manager, data center software solutions at Intel DCM