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The emerging Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software market generated US$245m in revenue in 2010 and that was only the beginning, according to a recent report on the market by a research firm.

By 2015, size of the DCIM market will have reached about $1.3bn, growing at a compound rate of nearly 39% every year, according to 451 Research, the report’s publisher. The researchers said they expected the market to continue growing rapidly after 2015, but had not attempted to size the opportunity beyond the report’s timeframe.

This young market is taking shape rapidly, fuelled by an increasing focus on improving data center energy efficiency, with nearly all major data center equipment vendors having launched DCIM products, and numerous start-ups having entered the market solely as DCIM vendors.

John Stanley, a 451 analyst and one of the report’s authors, said the company defined DCIM as “software that collects and manages information about data center assets, resource use and operation status.”

To Stanley, the DCIM space is a series of overlapping “feature bubbles,” which include power monitoring and control, cooling-systems monitoring and control, IT asset management and forward-looking features, such as capacity planning and data center simulation.

“All of these things can legitimately claim to be DCIM,” Stanley said, adding that a vendor did not necessarily have to provide all of the features for their product to be called DCIM.

The researchers found nearly 40 companies with products that meet the criteria. “Those are the ones that we could find,” Stanley said. “We tried to be as inclusive as we could and that was the number that we came up with.”

While most of the companies included in the report generated less than $10m each from DCIM sales in 2010, there were several whose DCIM revenue that year exceeded $25m, Stanley said.

Top three vendors in the report in terms of DCIM revenue were (in alphabetical order) Emerson, nlyte, and Schneider Electric.

The report’s authors expect the second- and third-tier players in the market to consolidate as they find it hard to compete against the scale larger vendors enjoy.

Some of these smaller players may also try to compete by expanding the comprehensiveness of their DCIM product suites. 451 expects sales of entire suites to grow quicker than niche offerings, however, rapid growth is to come in each of the sub-markets.

In addition to comprehensiveness of features, some of the other characteristics that are going to make or break products in the space into the near future include scaling and populating asset databases.

“The ability to scale and deal with large volumes of data is one thing that’s important, particularly if you’re doing any kind of power or temperature monitoring,” Stanley said. As the system pulls together data from thousands or tens of thousands of sources and tries to analyse it for trends, “you don’t want your database to choke.”