Are we in a datacentre building bubble?

Are we in a datacentre building bubble?

Summary: Big data is back on the agenda of enterprises, according to a new survey released by Oracle, the eponymous database company. The survey of 949 datacentre managers in Europe and the Middle East was commissioned from analyst firm Quocirca and suggests that datacentres are running out of space for data -- fast.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Networking
1

Big data is back on the agenda of enterprises, according to a new survey released by Oracle, the eponymous database company. The survey of 949 datacentre managers in Europe and the Middle East was commissioned from analyst firm Quocirca and suggests that datacentres are running out of space for data -- fast. Clearly, it's in Oracle's interest to say so: thanks to its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, it's now a hardware company selling servers and storage as well as the enterprise-level databases that suck huge volumes of compute power.

But what's driving this boom in big data, according to the survey results, is "increased interaction between consumers and brands via mobile devices, a surge in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and organisations creating ever greater levels of information within their own processes."

As a result, organisations are outsourcing more of their data to external datacentres and cloud services organisations, even though they plan in the longer term to build their own facilities.

But there's another intriguing trend too: sustainability -- or responsiveness to energy costs -- is back on the agenda for datacentre managers because more of them, almost two-thirds in fact, now have sight of the electricity bill that their datacentres generate. The UK is behind comparable countries such as the Nordics, Germany, Switzerland and the Benelux group of countries in this area, and is below the average of all those countries in the survey.

Other results suggest that some 70 percent of the servers across the region are now virtualised -- though as Oracle reports: "Virtualisation of IT hardware ... remains patchy with only 12 percent of respondents having virtualised more than 70 percent of their IT estate. 38 percent have virtualised less than 30 percent."

Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom commented that: "As the value of information grows, it is becoming increasingly likely that organisations will be forced to put a value on the balance sheet. Therefore, the capability to collate the data in a central, accessible, secure and reliable location becomes key."

What will be interesting is whether this growth in data is sustained even through some of the toughest economic times in living memory, and whether companies can afford both to build new datacentres -- which I read is what's happening -- and keep the lights on. Could we be in a datacentre bubble?

Topic: Networking

Manek Dubash

About Manek Dubash

Editor, journalist, analyst, presenter and blogger.


As well as blogging and writing news & features here on ZDNet, I work as a cloud analyst with STL Partners, and write for a number of other news and feature sites.


I also provide research and analysis services, video and audio production, white papers, event photography, voiceovers, event moderation, you name it...


Back story
An IT journalist for 25+ years, I worked for Ziff-Davis UK for almost 10 years on PC Magazine, reaching editor-in-chief. Before that, I worked for a number of other business & technology publications and was published in national and international titles.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

1 comment
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • It’s great to see that Oracle’s research has highlighted that so many managers throughout Europe do have visibility of their electricity bills. However, to our mind, the real problem lies in that fact that most CIOs don't.

    In fact according to our recent research (Samsung research – CIO Connect UK 2011) a staggering 85% of UK CIOs do not see their datacentre power bill.

    This must change. European CIOs need to become savvy and take a leaf out of our friends across the pond’s book, who have been insisting on visibility of their power bills for nearly ten years.

    What’s more, CIOs need to take the time to ‘look inside the box’ in their datacentre and become knowledgeable in what components are affecting the bottom line P&L. As well as the power saving and sustainability argument of taking more of an interest, it will also allow the CIO to have a more informed, positive dialogue with the CFO. And of course, if the CIO can provide cost cutting solutions, it opens up more available IT budget to spend on other resources!

    One of the key areas most CIOs struggle with: not knowing what the most power consuming component in the data centre is. The majority think that storage followed by the CPU would drain the most energy. However, most would be shocked to see that DRAM memory was, in fact, the choke point or the barrier to performance as well as the biggest power drain on the system.

    As an industry we are just about managing to keep our heads above water when it comes to satisfying the consumer’s thirst for accessible data on the move, the fact that the datacentre is now accounting for 23% of global ICT power consumption, comes as no surprise. We must be taking very seriously any way to be more efficient and simply having sight of the electricity bill every month is one simple step in the right direction, and a step that every CIO can take immediately.
    ThomasArenz