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.

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?

Topics: Networking

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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, voiceo... Full Bio

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