Research: 2012 State of the Data Center

May 31, 2012


Hot, Crowded and Standardized

Assessing the state of enterprise data centers is really a two-part exercise: First, there's the equipment that goes into the data center, and then there's the facility itself. Many data center surveys focus on the latter, but designing and operating computer rooms is neither a core competency of most IT organizations nor how CIOs and their teams are measured in terms of added business value. Obsessing over how IT builds its raised floors is like judging Wal-Mart's effectiveness as a retailer by analyzing how it builds warehouses--it provides a very narrow and incomplete understanding.

Disaggregating the "what" versus the "where" is more important than ever now that gigabit WANs, cloud infrastructure, SaaS applications and colocation facilities mean the business can essentially rent rather than own data center space. Furthermore, with recessionary aftereffects having created a new normal in which IT is expected to do a lot more with the same or marginally higher budgets, the ability to shrewdly exploit economies of scale offered by external service providers and to develop data center strategies that maximize efficiency without compromising performance are critical skills for every IT exec.

So, in this year's InformationWeek State of the Data Center Survey, we focus more on the application infrastructure than the computer room design. Our 256 respondents face a delicate balancing act between standards and customization, efficiency and flexibility, and operational control versus outsourced convenience.

Of course, the physical plant still matters. Hardware that packs more performance punch into every cubic inch has ratcheted up data center power and cooling demands to the point where simply renovating old facilities is often not an option, even as big construction projects are harder than ever to justify. These twin trends mean organizations may be forced to embrace the cloud or co-lo despite any real or imagined downsides. We'll examine these issues and more, and offer some tips for transforming your data center strategies to meet changed conditions. (R5000612)

Survey Name   InformationWeek 2012 State of the Data Center Survey
Survey Date   April 2012
Region   North America
Number of Respondents    256
Purpose  To comprehensively assess the current state of data centers; understand data center resource constraints; and review efforts to monitor, manage and measure IT and data center systems.

Research Report