The market for Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is set to grow around 40 percent a year between now and 2015, according to new research from analyst firm The 451 Group.

By the end of this year, the market will be worth $323 million (£206m), and this will have almost quadrupled by 2015 to reach $1.27 billion (£812m). The figures are based on a survey of around 40 DCIM suppliers, three quarters of whom shared their figures.

In its data centre maturity model, The 451 Group divides the DCIM market into five stages: basic, reactive, proactive, optimising and autonomic. The market is currently somewhere between basic and reactive, explained Andy Lawrence, research director for data centre technologies at The 451 Group.

“The point is, you can’t get past each stage without investing more in DCIM ,” said Lawrence. “It’s like we’re driving cars from the 1930s, and we’ve got to upgrade to a modern Mercedes with an in-built management system – at which point everything becomes more efficient.”

DCIM monitors all aspects of the data centre and tries to manage them, so as to optimise efficiency. These include power, temperature and humidity, as well as IT resources such as the server and the UPS system. Through the implementation of specialised software, hardware and sensors, DCIM enables real-time monitoring and management for all interdependent systems across IT and facility infrastructures.

Of the suppliers surveyed, only one was found to have more than $50 million revenue from DCIM. The majority of respondents were in the $0-5 million band, suggesting that the majority of companies working in this area are still in startup phase.

“I think it’s fair to say it will probably follow a classic pattern where there’s going to be a lot of consolidation and M&A activity as the market sorts itself out,” Lawrence told Techworld.

He also said that, between now and 2015, vendors offering so-called ‘suites’ are going to take an increasing market share, whereas companies offering ‘point products’ that measure just one variable will struggle.

The 451 Group’s forecast is significantly more conservative than that made by analyst group Gartner last year. In a report entitled “DCIM: Going Beyond IT”, released March 2010, Gartner said that DCIM tools and processes would grow from 1% penetration in 2010 to 60% in 2014.

“I agree with Gartner that we’ll eventually get to very high numbers of adoption, but it won’t be that fast,” said Lawrence. “All the suppliers that looked at The 451 Group’s figures thought they were either realistic or conservative.”