July 25, 2012 – Vast storage and energy demands will push many enterprise data centers to their limit as soon as this year, even with increased budgets and recent facilities upgrades, according to a new industry group survey.

The Uptime Institute, a division of consultancy The 451 Group, parsed survey responses from 1,100 data center facility managers, IT leaders and C-suite executives worldwide for its second-annual data center market trends report.

Eighty percent of respondents have built new or upgraded data centers in the last five years, and 56 percent reported an increased budget to manage data centers compared with last year. Still, the Uptime Institute reported that by the end of this year 30 percent of enterprises will run out of the power, cooling or space needed to keep up data center operations.

The main culprit is the boom in data sources, and survey respondents are addressing data demands and their center limitations with a mix of options, according to the report. In the next 12 to 18 months, 66 percent of those surveyed expect to consolidate servers, and 42 percent expect to upgrade mechanical infrastructure at their centers, according to a question that allowed multiple selections. Those were also the top two options for a 36-month time frame. Rising since last year’s survey was the number of enterprises turning to cloud computing for added data storage. Thirty percent of respondents anticipate deploying data workloads in the cloud within the next 18 months, and that number increases to 35 percent within the next three years, according to survey results. Building a new data center is likely in the next 12-to-18 months for 29 percent of respondents, and 24 percent may lease data center space. Modular, pre-fabricated data center “containers” have been slow to catch on, and only represent 10 percent of the plans to address growing data demands, the survey noted.

To track data center operations, the majority (92 percent) of enterprises surveyed stated they have adopted data center infrastructure management solutions or plan to do so within the year. Investment is expected to grow over the next year for DCIM that deals with real-time data center cooling (24 percent), identification of underutilized servers and IT devices (23 percent), and capacity planning for power, cooling and storage (20 percent). Report authors cited the lack of integration with DCIM into overall IT systems as a substantial challenge to adoption of this “emerging” technology.

As far as the power limitations on enterprise data centers, financial savings and freeing up capacity were far and away the top two drivers in pursuing energy efficiency in the survey. Just less than half (49 percent) stated they are seeking some level of energy efficiency certification with existing or planned data centers.

Of course, this data deluge and tightening energy sources isn’t happening in a vacuum, as economic constraints continue to weigh heavily on all areas of business and put particular importance on efficient and safe data operations, according to the report’s authors.

“While your company may not be making more profit, you may be spending more on IT, meaning it’s more important than ever to make your investments count,” wrote Matt Stansberry, Uptime Institute Director of Content and Publications, and an author on the report.

Click here to access a the survey results.

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