A Complete Professional‘s Guide to Data Center Infrastructure Management Software

Hello friend! Managing a data center used to be fairly straightforward – some power calculations here, keep things cool over there. But the infrastructure powering business today has become staggeringly complex. Your job maintaining mission-critical systems nonstop is vital yet increasingly challenging.

That‘s why I put this comprehensive guide together for you – to make tackling modern data center management easier through a category of software called DCIM.

What is DCIM and Why It Now Matters More Than Ever

DCIM stands for data center infrastructure management. Think of it like a pilot‘s instrument panel for intelligently operating complex data centers packed with advanced hardware.

By centralizing visibility and control into one dashboard, DCIM software helps you:

  • Track thousands of assets across locations ✅
  • Optimize capacity planning as demands scale ⚙️
  • Improve uptime and prevent outages 📈
  • Monitor energy usage efficiently 💡
  • Speed deployments and changes 🚥
  • Reduce costs and labor time 💲

Analysts size the global DCIM market at over $4 billion annually. And forecast investments growing over 15% year over year through 2026 as capacity expands.

With change happening so rapidly, DCIM brings order to the chaos.

Now let‘s explore must have capabilities to expect from robust solutions. I‘ll rank vendors against these key criteria later to help guide your selection.

Essential DCIM Software Features and Comparison

DCIM Platform Asset Tracking Mapping & Modeling Power Analytics Environmentals Change Automation Reporting Integrations
Atlassian Audit focus Native apps
Sunbird API/PowerBI
Cormant Limited CMDB
OpManager+ ITIM/ITS
Datadog 300+ apps, API
netTerrain API
Ni2 Basic BMS, ITSM

Let‘s analyze the core functionality:

Unified Asset Inventory and Tracking

Auto-discover and track servers, switches, racks, devices and more. Integrate CMDB for unified config management.

Data Center Mapping and Modeling

Visualize floor maps, rack elevations, network topology. Enable what-if planning with drag and drop.

Power Consumption Monitoring and Analytics

Gain insight into full power chain down to outlet levels. Improve PUE efficiency, prevent overloads.

Environmental Monitoring

Monitor temperature, humidity, leaks across facility. Ensure optimal hardware operating conditions.

Change and Release Management

Standardization deployment processes with workflows. Enforce approvals, maintain audit log.

Reporting and Dashboards

Leverage historical reports, real-time dashboards and data exports to optimize operations.


Connect related systems – ITSM, power meters, BMS – via APIs for consolidated data flows.

I‘ll next overview top DCIM software vendors across startups and enterprise providers. Keep these core capabilities checklist handy as we compare offerings.

9 DCIM Software Solutions Under the Microscope

The DCIM landscape has absolutely exploded over the past decade. Once a niche, on-prem category, adoption has entered hypergrowth thanks to expanded cloud delivery models, analytics and competitive pricing.

Let‘s analyze the strengths of 9 top platforms:

1. Device42 – Award-winning with unparalleled feature breadth

Device42 tackles the many headaches of sprawling, complex data centers with an elegant yet powerful solution.

The self-updating inventory dashboard alone could justify adoption – instantly accounting for thousands of assets enterprise-wide.

Beyond benchmark tracking and mapping, Device42 provides robust orchestration. Automating mundane tasks like IP address management frees up staff for more strategic initiatives that further optimize infrastructure.

Gartner and Forrester recognize Device42 as an industry leader. And hundreds of marquee customers like PayPal and Adidas reap the benefits daily.

If you manage a large, growing environment, Device42 checks all the boxes.

Key strengths:

  • Unifies ITAM/DCIM/IPAM/CMDB datasets
  • Auto-generates insightful network and rack diagrams
  • API and data integrations flexible across the stack
  • Open architecture supports wide array of hardwares

Device42 shines brightest across massive installations requiring flexibility. Subscription pricing scaled on assets count and deployed functionality.

2. Atlassian – Leveraging existing mindshare and data

Hard to imagine a modern tech stack without Atlassian somewhere in the mix. Their Jira, Confluence and Bitbucket dominate issue tracking, documentation and DevOps.

Extending the Atlassian approach into DCIM, their Data Center solution allows centralized control planes for assets, capacity and infrastructure mappings. Leveraging the same elegant interface teams rely on daily keeps adoption frictionless.

If deep in the Atlassian ecosystem, integrating Data Center offers a lightweight lift to gain core DCIM capabilities. Understanding change history and configurations across services pre-built analytics acceleration.

Key differentiators:

  • Native integration with existing Atlassian application suite
  • Fine-tuned access control aligning to IT principals
  • Consistent auditing and reporting structures
  • Distributed deployment supporting massive scale

While less robust for facilites metrics, Atlassian Data Center offerings neat packaged for digitally-focused infrastructure managers.

3. Sunbird – Modern foundation for future-forward demands

Purpose-built for enterprises managing exponential data growth, Sunbird DCIM offers an award-winning blueprint for the next-generation data center.

Through proprietary data warehousing supporting billions of sensor inputs, Sunbird enables foundational IoT-scale monitoring and benchmarking required to operate cutting-edge facilities smoothly.

Think hyperscale and hybrid cloud environments loaded with advanced networking fabrics like Silicon Photonics and SmartNICs – Sunbird provides the analytics engine and oversight needed to maximize uptime and efficiency.

Standout features:

  • Predictive analytics for usage forecasting and modeling
  • Unified NOC views across power, assets, racks, chains
  • Minor device failure identification preventing catastrophic cascading outages
  • Custom energy usage reporting aligned sustainability goals
  • Change risk analysis for deployment confidence

For companies architecting complex co-location, high performance computing sites or digital infrastructure clouds, Sunbird delivers.

4. Cormant – Purpose-built for the world‘s most complex environments

Boasting an impressive client list spanning global financial organizations, telecommunications giants, managed services titans and tier one technology brands, Cormant DCIM tackles immense scale.

Trusted across hundreds of the largest data centers on earth, Cormant offers hard-earned perspective tailoring solutions to the intricate needs of buildings bursting with business-critical hardware.

Flags planted early in hyperscale campuses and colocation facilities cement Cormant as the preferred partner for space-constrained operators. Floor space comes at an incredible premium when building out acres of data halls. Cormant improves density through precision monitoring and workflow automation.

True expertise serving massive users:

  • Unparalleled experience forged across the most complex data centers
  • Connects ITSM and facilities tooling via bi-directional CMDB sync
  • Expert Professional Services team guides difficult integrations
  • High-granularity access permissions matrix

Consider Cormant the wise mentor with intricate knowledge beyond the reference architecture – earned only through decades of unrelenting deployments at tremendous scale.

5. ManageEngine OpManager Plus – Consolidating wider infrastructure oversight

ManageEngine OpManager Plus enters the fray boasting tight integration across broader IT infrastructure management disciplines – spanning network performance monitoring, configuration management and security analytics.

Its unified dashboard builds on established ITIM foundations by widening the lens to physical data center domains. Gathering insights on interdependencies between assets, power, cooling and utilization carries tremendous advantage for consolidation-focused IT leaders.

Savvy managed service providers achieve leverage taming operational complexity for customers through OpManager Plus’ licensing model supporting thousands of monitored devices.

Core unified strengths:

  • Holistic workflow automation beyond DCIM, touching IPAM, NMS
  • Custom dashboarding leveraging hundreds of pre-built widgets
  • Packaged MSP enablement toolkit
  • Change configuration standardization

For enterprise data centers or colocation providers seeking broader correlation beyond facility instrumentation, OpManager Plus blends complementary skill sets.

6. Datadog – Extending cloud-scale monitoring reach

Datadog has cemented position as the analytics engine underpinning cloud-scale enterprises.

Increasingly powering massive digital transformations, Datadog delivers cohesion across once disparate monitoring domains – aggregating everything from logs to network traffic to mobile application performance indicators onto its flexible platfrom.

While less associated with physical infrastructure management historically, Datadog‘s core monitoring capabilities translate effectively to augment data center oversight:

  • Consolidated asset inventory spanning cloud and on-prem
  • Sophisticated mapping and topology visualizations
  • Powerful alert notification engine
  • API-based architecture supporting extensive custom integration

For leadership teams heavily invested in Datadog for cloud monitoring, the value of consistent visibility extending into their server rooms makes adoption compelling.

Key strengths:

  • Leverages existing familiar UX and dashboarding
  • Open API enables integration across the full stack
  • Sophisticated machine learning anomaly detection
  • Custom events framework flexibly incorporates new datasources

Datadog effectively fills visibility gaps across digital and physical domains – best suited for modern shops embracing software-defined infrastructure.

7. netTerrain – Simplifying immersive data center visualization

netTerrain DCIM was built by network engineers frustrated with outdated monitoring approaches.

By transforming infrastructure oversight into immersive, interactive digital twin models of facilities, networks and power flows, netTerrain simplifies grappling dense interconnections.

Patented visualization technology allows operators to intuitively navigate complex hierarchies spanning across logical stacks and physical location. Detailed drill-downs avoid information overload while still providing access to granular component-level detail.

Innovative graphical strengths:

  • Photo-realistic interactive mapper of data center layers
  • Custom groupings and symbols tailored to environment
  • Integrated rack designer with scaling vectors
  • Thermal maps identifying hot spots
  • Impact analysis for change planning

For spatial-minded tactical teams migrating hardware frequently, netTerrain simplifies the puzzle of interdependent systems tremendously through dimensional visualization.

8. VFPS – Specialists delivering award-winning DCIM tailored for colocation demands

VFPS DCIM smartly combines decades of power distribution expertise together with enterprise-grade DCIM capabilities.

Winning acclaim for their rack PDU and battery backup hardware products, VFPS intimately understands exacting colocation requirements around redundancy, metering and uptime.

Purpose-built with hyper-dense configurations in mind, VFPS DCIM shines managing massive mixed-tenant facilities through:

  • Unified high-density rack power visualization
  • Continuous environmental monitoring supporting hundreds of distributed sensors
  • Detailed change ticketing tied directly to client services
  • Open API enables extensive custom metering integration
  • Planning assistance championing efficiency

For colocation specialists, VFPS provides ideal visibility and control tailored to the space.

9. Ni2 – Focused on complete facilities process alignment

Ni2 DCIM takes a wider lens beyond racks and racks to holistically connect infrastructure operations to business processes.
With a cloud-first SaaS delivery model, Ni2 centralizes workflows spanning board approvals down through cable tech deployment.

Full-lifecycle visual task coordination saves teams countless hours otherwise wasted relaying forms and diagrams across departments via email and chat.

Standout workflow strengths:

  • Connect data center demands to facility capacity planning
  • Maintain customer satisfaction through project transparency
  • Detailed COO and capacity modeling down to regional nodes
  • Automate release scheduling across departments
  • Unify legacy tools via API integrations where needed

For distributed enterprises managing dozens of buildings, Ni2 promotes lean alignment. It shines where coordination between corporate goals, field techs and partners causes delay.

Carefully Evaluating Options Based on Unique Needs

With increased perspective across the range of solutions available, critical evaluation requires analysis based your organization‘s unique constraints and objectives.

I suggest focusing comparison on these 4 pivotal considerations:

Budget – While all VC-backed DCIM vendors tout ROI measured in months, balance sheets may dictate only SaaS-based solutions without large perpetual licenses.

Team Skill Sets – If built around deep network engineering bench strength, prioritize programmability and open modeling toolsets allowing custom integrations. More generalized IT backgrounds align better to turnkey solutions with great included training and support.

Future Plans – Building next-generation data centers packed with cryogenic processors and silicon photonic fabrics requires fundamentally different oversight than maintaining a small on-prem server site. Let long-term infrastructure ambitions guide selection.

Integrations – If ultimately needing to feed datasets across ITSM, Power Management and BMS platforms, ensure open API and documentation allows glueing systems together.

While I lay out objective comparison criteria measuring technical capabilities earlier in this guide across top vendors, taking the time to map out organizational restraints and targets will pay dividends determining the optimal choice on your shortlist.

Let‘s Talk Implementing the Right DCIM System

Friend, selecting smart technology is merely step one – we still need to make your new DCIM system deliver transformative value improving data center operations.

I suggest outlining key challenges plaguing administrators currently as the basis for launch objectives. What persistent bottlenecks or blindspots inspire seeking better oversight in the first place?

Common pain points might include:

  • Constant firefighting of outages 🚒
  • Difficulty forecasting power budgets ⚡️
  • Time wasted manually tracking assets 📋
  • Lack of standard in change controls ⚙️

Capturing these friction points directly links adoption of new platforms to tangible benefits – faster troubleshooting response, improved capacity planning, automated inventory lifecycle management and consistent release processes.

Measuring hard metrics like outage minutes reduced or audit cycles shortened maintains momentum internally post-purchase.

I advise piloting targeted initial deployments focused on high-ROI challenges rather than elaborate full-scale infrastructure replacements. Once a foundation settles through a few focused integrations, methodical enhancement brings new facilities into the DCIM umbrella naturally over longer timelines.

Small, tangible victories sustain buy-in over years-long modernization efforts. Rome wasn‘t built overnight!

Let‘s Keep In Touch Moving Forward

Whew, you made it all the way through my DCIM guide magnum opus! Hopefully I‘ve empowered you to make smarter software decisions leveraging the fundamentals explained here.

Friend, take a breath knowing the intricacies of infrastructure management don‘t need to overwhelm. Tools exist today – whether Device42, Sunbird or otherwise – ready to help consolidate the chaos into clarity.

I sincerely enjoy connecting with professionals like you navigating complex technical domains daily. It‘s why I deliver in-depth resources just like this.

Please stay in touch! I welcome any feedback, questions or war stories from the data center frontlines. No major implementation ever follows tidy checklists and I‘m always seeking to learn.

Beyond software, I explore proven strategies and perspectives helping technology leaders achieve incredible outcomes through daily writings on my blog. Subscribe below and let‘s stay aligned.

Here‘s to building the future of computing, my friend! 🥂