Viridity has updated its data centre infrastructure management software to let businesses keep track of how much electrical power is being consumed by individual applications and lines of business, the company will announce Monday.

DCIM tools are becoming more widely used as companies try to manage energy use more closely to reduce bills in their data centres. Gartner estimated last year that 60 percent of data centres will be using some form of DCIM software by 2014, up from just 1 percent last year.

That also means DCIM is becoming a crowded market. The 451 Group has counted more than 40 DCIM vendors and expects consolidation to occur. Many of the vendors provide tools that measure the power drawn by equipment, and analyse the data to help with capacity planning and where to put new hardware.

Viridity's EnergyCenter product is based on a database the company has compiled containing information about "tens of thousands" of server configurations, including how much electrical power each configuration uses at small incremental levels of utilisation.

The software then monitors the utilisation level of data centre equipment so customers can see which systems are using too much power or are inefficient. It can also identify idle or under-utilised servers that might be candidates for consolidation.

A new release due out on July 1, EnergyCenter Version 2.0, lets companies associate the energy use with particular applications and services. A company can identify a group of servers associated with payroll, for example, to calculate the operational cost of that department.

"A few of our large customers say they don't track the operating costs associated with some of their large applications," said Viridity President and CEO Arun Oberoi. "They know roughly some elements of the cost, application development, maintenance of servers, etc., but power and cooling costs are a big component."

The information helps determine whether the operational cost of applications are in line with their importance to the company. It can also be the basis of chargeback applications that bill departments for the energy they use.

Version 2.0 can also track power used by virtual servers by connecting to VMware's vSphere management software, Oberoi said. Viridity expects to support Microsoft's virtualization platform in another update later this year. The new release also adds some heat-mapping capabilities, to identify hotspots and cooling needs and can send alerts when thresholds are reached.

EnergyCenter doesn't measure energy and heat using sensors and monitoring equipment, as some other products do. But it says its calculations based on utilisation rates are 98 percent accurate, and that its product is easier to set up because it's all software.

"We think a software approach is more sustainable because it's more lightweight," Oberoi said.