The results are in: The Uptime Institute 2012 Data Center Survey

The Uptime Institute annual survey has some surprising information for industry watchers and vendors
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

In its second year, the now annual Uptime Institute Survey shows some significant difference year to year in the answers provided by the 1100 worldwide data center owners and operators that are the focus of the survey. The survey is broken into 4 key areas: Cloud Computing, Energy, Modular, and DCIM.

In general, the survey seems to indicate that data center budgets are growing slightly and that data center capacity is increasing. This is despite somewhat sluggish growth in the responders business and indicates that even with an unpredictable economy, invest continues in the data center.

With cloud computing, adoption rates are, with 25% reporting that they had adopted some form of public cloud. Interestingly enough, the primary reason cited for this adoption was that it was an attempt to decrease costs. But the rate of adoption is highest among technology providers, and in the traditional business computing world, the level of adoption is much lower, hovering around 11%.

While finding ways to reduce energy consumption or more effectively use energy was a major priority for over half of the respondents, the reality was that there was little financial incentive to do so.  This is highlighted by the fact that only 20% of the IT departments actually paid the data center energy bill, reflecting the way that businesses compartmentalized business expenses.

Large organizations (over 2000 servers) were most focused on analyzing energy usage with almost 90% measuring PUE and half of them doing it in a very detailed fashion, but in smaller datacenters (those with fewer than 500 servers) only 18% had any PUE focus.  Respondents were asked what kind of PUE n8umbers they were seeing, and the global average was reported at between 1.8 and 1.9, a major reduction from the PUE of 2.5 reported in the initial survey in 2011.  There is no indication, in the survey, however, if this reduction is from actual energy efficiencies or simply a more detailed look at PUE rather than guesstimates and short term projections.

With modular datacenters, the number of users had doubled since the last survey, but with only 8% reporting use, it still represents a small percentage of data center operations. Concerns over the durability of modular solutions might be the biggest hurdle to adoption, with overall upfront costs also playing a roll. The survey seems to indicate that customers and vendors are not quite on the same page ion regard to the goals of modular design, with vendors focusing on speed to market and consistency of platform, while customers are focused on costs.

Data Center Infrastructure management is an interesting subject. While almost no one surveyed wasn’t interested in some aspect of DCIM, and a fair percentage were already using tools that could be described as DCIM, there was no single concerted focus on what DCIM needed to be deployed.

This accurately reflects the DCIM vendor market; there is still no overweening model that has established itself for the DCIM market, and while these tools are still in their relative infancy they are expensive to purchase and expensive to deploy and utilize, making their adoption somewhat problematic to datacenter operators who can’t point to a set of compelling reasons to make the move to DCIM.

The entire report can be downloaded from http://uptimeinstitute.com/2012-survey-results


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