While DCIM is all about the lifecycle of a data center, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is all about the lifecycle of a building. BIM uses virtual design tools like 3D modeling and simulation to provide digital representation of the entire building processes. This includes design, construction, schedule simulation, facility management, bill creation, building monitoring and more so that designers can facilitate the exchange of building processes in digital format.
DCIM and BIM often tend to overlap or collide upon maturing beyond their core functionalities, which can lead to efficient data centers, if applied appropriately. In the past, a data center could be divided into 2 systems—the facility/ building managed by the facilities management group and the IT equipment within this facility managed by the IT department. The only requirements for IT from the facility in those days were adequate back-up power and cooling.
Things have changed and data center has evolved into a single unit where IT equipment should flexibly work alongside facilities equipment that comprise UPSs, stand-by auxiliary generators, cooling systems, power distribution layouts. Visionary CIOs felt it would be better to combine the 2 teams - IT and facilities management (FM) - for an optimized design of data centers.
The combination is a sight for sore eyes, with BIM showing the 3D model building with pillars, walls and power systems, and DCIM chipping in with the IT equipment models like the equipment racks/rows and the models of the power systems required.
Some benefits for the IT department from the marriage of DCIM and BIM:
- BIM can allow correct positioning of cooling systems according to the thermal limits of IT equipments.
- Energy use can be optimized with movement-receptive lighting techniques inside data centers.
- Access authenticity can be enforced for the right people to the right equipment.
- Optimized asset management across the facility.
Together, DCIM and BIM can create intelligent buildings where the facility offerings perfectly meet the IT needs of the data centers. In short, the union can create efficient data centers.