Businesses need to carefully consider their approach to datacentres in 2013 if they want to maximise their returns, according to analyst firm IDC.
IDC research director Donna Taylor told the Data Centre World conference in London that new technologies continue to refine, enhance, and complicate data centre design and operation. The technologies in particular include cloud, big data, solid state drives (SSDs), converged systems and automation.
IDC is seeing increasing adoption of public, private and hybrid cloud across EMEA, said Taylor, adding that this was partly down to the fact that businesses were less worried about cloud security than they were in previous years. But cloud uptake across the EMEA region is still a long way behind the US, said Taylor.
Businesses are failing to cash in on big data, according to Taylor. "What we're finding is that some people do not understand what the term big data means so they're missing out on a big opportunity," she said.
Nearly half (44 percent) of the 1603 businesses involved in IDC's European vertical capital market survey in 2012 thought that adding more capacity would enable them to utilise big data.
Taylor argues that businesses should store all their data somewhere but big data only becomes relevant when they can ask specific questions of it.
"You don't have to deploy something that can analyse data that's coming in fresh or have an idea of why you've collected it in the first place because the value of data is often that you collected it for an entirely different purpose and you're now able to use it for a purpose you had no idea you needed."
The rise of SSDs can help datacentres achieve their capacity goals, according to Taylor.
"This new type of storage changes the performance of the datacentre but also the footprint because very small amounts of SSD can displace a great number of disks in the datacentre and this will affect power cooling and footprint issues in the datacentre," she said.
When storage, servers, networking and storage server management are optimised so that they work together it is known as a converged system.
Results from IDC's converged system survey in September last year show that more advanced and larger customers use converged systems to improve business agility and staff efficiency.
Taylor said there was increasing uptake of converged systems, with 21 percent of the 300 businesses surveyed agreeing that they were extremely likely to adopt converged systems over the next three years or that they are already using the technology.
"From the end user perspective, the converged system offers so much in performance that it should be able to overcome any vendor lock in concerns because they're getting so much bang for their buck," said Taylor.
Taylor said that datacentres are increasingly relying on automation so that they can put their IT staff to more important work. "They're looking to free up their IT staff so that they can not only be put to higher value work in the datacentre but more importantly revenue generating activities in the organisation," she added.