Datacenter infrastructure market continues to grow

Market growth has been slowed not just by the economy but also by the need to find new ways to consistently evaluate infrastructure hardware.

Though a recent IDC report that datacenter infrastructure vendor's revenues are on the rebound I think that the "rebound" statement needs to be more closely examined. While IT spending took a hit, along with most sectors during the current economic problems, datacenter infrastructure vendors also found themselves dealing with a shift in buyer focus brought on by the onslaught of "green" propaganda.

Over the last few years buyers of datacenter infrastructure hardware have had to rethink their buying process due to economic demands and the proliferation of "green" technologies.  With every vendor claiming the leadership in green technology this has had a dampening effect on the way that this hardware was being purchased.

One comment I've heard often, in recent times, from datacenter buyers, is "does so and so think I'm an idiot?" This is usually in response to a memo or email, or even, in some cases, a directive from on high that states that the equipment purchases for the datacenter infrastructure should meet some green standard that the writer has heard about and feels that the company should utilize.

In just about every case, the IT guy has already taken this into account. He's looking to spend his money as effectively as possible and considerations of energy efficiency and power management are high on the list of things that are evaluated before the infrastructure dollars are spent. But the public media blitz for green awareness means that he's getting direction that has required a longer evaluation cycle and more detailed cost justification to deliver the same products that would likely have already been purchased.

The reason for this isn't that the demand for greener IT infrastructure is unreasonable; it's that there simply aren't broadly accepted standards already in place that the IT guy can point to and use a simple justification when making purchases. There's also a bit of what I call the "horsepower mythos" happening in the green IT world. 

In the aftermarket auto performance market every vendor makes claims for how much horsepower adding their widget to your car will provide. This marketing tool leads the less well informed consumer to believe that they can simply add together the claims of each vendor to determine how much horsepower gain they will realize. The reality is that this can't be done and that 1 + 1 will usually only equal something like1.3, not 2. In some cases the combination of performance parts will even result in a power loss.

So that's a major problem the IT buyer faces; they have to evaluate new technology, determine what will work well together, and provide new cost benefit analysis based on changes in technology and terminology. Add this all together and it has slowed down the buying process. While the market continues to recover, from the economic turn and the technology push, there is still a bit of a way to go for the IT buyer to replace the standard methods of infrastructure evaluation used in the past.