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451 Global Digital Infrastructure Alliance Looks at Enterprise Data Center Trends

July 15, 2015

Those of a certain age who live in the U.S. may remember the old but not forgotten financial services firm E.F. Hutton. The reason is not because you may have been a customer but rather because of the tag line to its TV ad campaign, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.”  The purpose of bringing this up is because I happen to have the privilege of being a member of the prestigious 451 Global Digital Infrastructure Alliance.  This organization for those not familiar consists of a select cross section of global data center professionals. And, when they talk, people listen.

451 recently polled 1,240 Alliance members to look at key enterprise data center trends, and the results of the survey are illuminating.

Data center Facilities SpendingNext 90 Days (poll conducted in May 2015): One in four respondents (25 percent) says their organization’s data center facility spending will increase over the next 90 days. This is down slightly from last quarter’s survey, but it’s better than it was in summer 2014.

Data center Utilization:  451 asked the rather intriguing and valuable questions, “Are we at a Tipping Point?”  The survey found that the average data center is utilized at 63 percent capacity from a square-footage perspective, and at 56 percent from a power perspective. However, the average organization waits until it is at 75 percent power or space utilization before looking for more capacity.

While the granularity and discussion of the survey results for each of the areas highlighted warrants high placement on your reading list, this particular element caught my attention, and the visualization of the data is helpful. 

Solutions to the Capacity Issue: This is where it gets interesting. When asked what they will do if they run out of data center capacity, three-in-five (62 percent) respondents say they will Consolidate their IT Infrastructure to Accommodate Power and/or Space Availability. Another 41 percent say they will Utilize Off-Premises Cloud Service Providers.

Cloud and Co-location Trends: On average, enterprises that own data centers still deploy 8 percent of their total applications in the cloud and 11 percent at a co-location. Going forward, these same respondents expect significant growth in their use of third-party providers – with 21 percent of their applications deployed at a cloud service provider and 15 percent at a co-location provider within the next three years.

While this is a snapshot of trends for a short period of time, the survey does confirm what industry analysts have been saying and we have been observing. 

First, data center operators are looking to save power and space. It should be added that this includes looking at a host of emerging alternatives for doing so. 

Second, interest in moving to the cloud and co-location remains strong.  While adoption may not be at revolutionary speed, it is clear that the move to the cloud, and to let third-parties in general off-load many of the responsibilities and reduce the costs associated with legacy private data center environments, is going to see significant growth. 

In short, enterprise data centers and how enterprises view them really are transforming, and based on the results of those enterprises that own their data centers, cloud and co-location providers are going to be major beneficiaries of these transformations. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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