Analyst: Most data centers use virtualization for select applications only

Survey delves into major operators' strategies for data center expansion.

Infonetics Research has released its Data Center Deployment Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey. The report delves into major operators' plans for data center expansion, interconnection, capacity, physical servers, virtualization, and SAN and storage technologies.

Server virtualization has been the focus of the data center industry for several years now, and the largest data center owners and Internet content providers like Google are ubiquitously exploiting virtual machines,” says Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks and co-founder of Infonetics Research.

Howard adds, “Yet the reality is the bulk of data center owners are more pedestrian in their deployments, finding it more operationally convenient to leave many areas of their data centers alone, using server virtualization for only select applications.”

See: Google's 10 tips for better data center design

For the 23-page data center survey, Infonetics interviewed incumbent and competitive service providers and cloud specialists that have data centers with at least 100 servers. Highlights of the survey include the following:

-- More operators than anticipated plan to continue investing in Fibre Channel for their data centers, even in the face of growing usage of the newer Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).

-- The number of data center server LAN connections is growing quickly, with 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections growing the most.

-- The average capacity of a data center WAN connection is expected to increase more than twofold from 2012 to 2014.

-- While the use of virtual machines in data centers continues to grow, many servers are not yet virtualized.

Howard notes, “To be sure, data center owners want to increase the value of their existing data center assets -- no matter the extent of server virtualization -- as a means to increase revenue via cloud services, both to keep their current customers satisfied and to attract new customers.”

Specifically, the new survey provides insights into data center interconnection strategies; storage network investments; data network technologies deployed; WAN/internet connection capacities; and number of physical servers, virtual machines, Ethernet and SAN interfaces in use at medium, large, and super data centers.

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