Report: Infrastructure performance paramount for data centers, despite bad economy

Aug. 17, 2009
August 17, 2009 -- Commissioned by CommScope with contributing sponsors Brocade, Eaton and Intel, the recent Global Data Center Survey found that data centers are increasingly viewed as critical business priorities that, despite the current economic climate, continue to receive ongoing investments to improve performance and reliability.

August 17, 2009 -- According to a newly commissioned survey, data centers, the backbone of most organizations' computing and networking capabilities, are increasingly viewed as critical business priorities and -- despite the current economic climate -- continue to receive ongoing investments to improve performance and reliability.

The Global Data Center Survey, commissioned by CommScope, with contributing sponsors Brocade, Eaton and Intel, reveals that almost a third (32%) of all organizations surveyed worldwide are planning or building new data centers, while more than four out of five (83%) existing data centers continue to receive investment for infrastructure and technology projects. In the backdrop of the current economic environment, almost two thirds (65%) of respondents were required to demonstrate a specific return on the investment before their data center projects were approved.

More than 730 IT professionals from 54 countries with responsibility for their organizations' data centers responded to the survey's questions on trends in data center equipment, design and future development.

"It is clear that data centers are viewed as mission critical, and organizations continue to invest accordingly to ensure quality, performance and intelligence are successfully supporting business goals," says George Brooks, director, enterprise data centers, CommScope. "Whether it is to stay ahead of technology developments and new applications or to address cost-efficiency opportunities, data center expansions and improvement projects are continuing around the world, despite the economic downturn."

Other key findings from the survey included the following:

-- Globally, more than half (54%) of the organizations installing new copper cabling would invest in Category 6A 10Gb/s solutions – its high-performance and reliability are key for virtualization and consolidation, which are the main drivers of green and cost-reduction strategies and are highly dependent on reliability. Airports (86%) and healthcare (71%) are the business sectors leading the drive toward investment in Category 6A 10G copper solutions.

-- Of those respondents installing new fiber cabling in their data center, the shift to 10G and 40/100G laser optimized multimode fibers is accelerating with data centers installing OM3 at a rate of 31 percent and installing OM4 at a rate of 19 percent.

-- Data centers continue to receive investment for power and space saving technologies. They include blade servers that are more compact and energy efficient than previous types, and virtualization that allows more applications to run on each server. These result in cost savings due to a reduction in power and space requirements.

-- As additional computing resources are packed into equipment racks, data centers are moving to higher bandwidth solutions to reduce growth in cabling volume. Blade servers can decrease cable management complexity as compared to rack optimized servers. Thirty percent are already using new 10Gb/s copper connectivity solutions in the network backbone and a further 46 percent plan to do so in the next three years.

-- In horizontal network segments, 21 percent are using 10Gb/s over copper. Another 48 percent plan to upgrade in the next three years. The new, high performance copper cabling, conforming to the Category 6A/Class EA standards, offers an easy-to-install option for high performance data centers.

"The recession is not damping the demand for on-line information and applications that is driving data center expansion," adds Brooks. "At the same time, growth of image and video databases is increasing the requirement for higher bandwidth infrastructure within the data center. As servers get smaller and support more applications, connection densities and bandwidth will have to grow dramatically."

The survey shows that the importance of performance and quality in data center infrastructure is widely appreciated. More respondents named performance (62%) and ease of maintenance (54%) as influences on their purchasing decisions than said they were influenced by price (50%).

"Improved data center performance is an efficiency driver that can help organizations fight the effects of the recession and be ready for the upturn," concludes Brooks. "Physical layer infrastructure is a focus of attention since it can quickly become a bottleneck at times of peak demand. Reliable, affordable 10G and 40/100G solutions will be important to the ongoing operational and space saving efficiencies of data centers for years to come. These high speed infrastructure connections free space for other equipment and for the flow of cooling air, which was an issue of concern for more respondents (61%) than any other."

On the Web:
2009 Global Data Center Survey Results

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