HP warns of data center-capacity shortfall

Data centers are running short of capacity, while business managers don't understand their importance, according to a Hewlett-Packard survey.

European data centers are running out of capacity, with the majority operating at 82 percent of their full capability, according to a survey commissioned by Hewlett-Packard.

Part of the problem, the research indicates, is that, while data centers play a crucial part in the functioning of European businesses, 72 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) feel that the heads of their company's business units fail to understand the importance of data centers, and, therefore, don't fund them sufficiently.

The research for the Data Center Transformation Survey, released on Friday, was conducted by Coleman-Parkes Research on behalf of HP. The technology giant said 1,020 CIOs and business-unit heads across Europe were interviewed for the study.

Despite the economic downturn, 60 percent of companies still plan to invest in improving their facilities, the survey found. In addition, 46 percent of those surveyed expect to see an increase in the number of data center-transformation projects being planned.

According to Reinier van Hoeijen, director for data center-transformation services at HP EMEA, data center transformation, which covers consolidation or updating hardware to improve efficiency, is a way for companies to reduce costs while making their business more flexible. However, he pointed out that data center transformation is difficult to achieve unless the business and the IT department work in tandem.

"CIOs and business unit heads need to work together to ensure that the technology-infrastructure strategy is aligned with specific desired business benefits," van Hoeijen said in a statement. "In order to alleviate their current pressures, and ultimately reduce costs, businesses should define return on investment and the impact that transformation will have on their people, processes and infrastructure."

According to the research, companies in the United Kingdom currently have, on average, 5.7 data centers. That figure is expected to rise to 6.1 data centers by 2011.

The biggest challenge currently facing U.K. companies with respect to managing their data centers, according to the report, is balancing the need to secure the investment required to improve facilities with the need to reduce capital expenditure, an issue mentioned by 53 percent of U.K. companies surveyed.

Other challenges that U.K. companies face include achieving greater technology-infrastructure flexibility and agility to support business growth (42 percent), and reducing capital expenditure on the data center (37 percent).

This article was first published as a blog on CNET News.com