This year’s bi-annual AFCOM Data Center World® 2009 at the Paris Hotel & Convention Center in Las Vegas brought together approximately 800 data center professionals under one roof to share insights, educate one another, showcase new technologies and talk about the things that really matter to them while running what some refer to as the “lifeline” of their companies – the data center. During the conference, board members that sit on AFCOM’s Data Center Institute (DCI), a leading industry think-tank, joined together with leading technology media and industry analysts to discuss some of the most critical issues facing the data center industry today.
The event began with a formal introduction by Len Eckhaus, founder of AFCOM and Data Center Institute board member, revealing the recently updated “Five Bold Predictions for the Data Center”, originally released by the Data Center Institute in March 2006. The updates take into account today’s focus on energy efficiency, and the current state of the economy. They are also based on an AFCOM Data Center Institute December 2008 survey, “The Current Economy and Its Impact on the Data Center”, which surveyed 133 AFCOM members, all large-scale data center managers.
1. By 2015, the talent pool of qualified senior level technical and management data center professionals will shrink by 45%
2. By 2010, more than half of all data centers will have to relocate to new facilities or outsource some applications
3. Over the next five years, power failures and limits on power availability will halt data center operations at least once at more than 90% of all companies
4. By 2010, nearly 70% of all data centers will utilize some form of grid computing or other virtual processing
5. Within the next five years, one out of every four data centers will experience a business disruption serious enough to affect the entire company’s ability to continue business-as-usual
Prediction 1: By 2015, the talent pool of qualified senior level technical and management data center professionals will shrink by 45 percent.
Due to the recession, the shrinking of the talent pool of senior-level technical and management data center professionals has actually sped up. Many businesses have had to close their doors. Others have had to lay people off.
A key note: In 2002, Meta Group reported that 55 percent of all IT workers with mainframe experience were then over 50 years old. Seven years later that number is easily over 60 percent. Overall, the DCI does see the critical IT talent pool shrinking even more because of the economy.
Prediction 2: By 2010, more than half of all data centers will have to relocate to new facilities or outsource some applications.
This has slowed down. The DCI’s most recent survey shows that 40.1 percent of all data centers cutting budgets will have to delay or cancel a planned physical expansion or relocation. Because of this, we believe we’ll see an increase in outsourcing as data center space gets tighter and capital spending drains.
Prediction 3: Over the next five years, power failures and limits on power availability will halt data center operations at least once at more than 90 percent of all companies.
The DCI was right on target here; it does not foresee any changes in this prediction.
Prediction 4: By 2010, nearly 70 percent of all data centers will utilize some form of grid computing or other virtual processing.
The DCI believes this to be happening faster than expected. The most recent surveys indicate that 86.2 percent of all data centers expect to increase the use of virtualization and, to a lesser extent, other technologies such as cloud and utility computing to cut back the need for new servers.
Prediction 5: Within the next five years, one out of every four data centers will experience a business disruption serious enough to affect the entire company’s ability to continue business as usual.
The DCI believes this will worsen. Reported budget cuts indicate that 6.1 percent of all data centers will have to decrease their physical security measures, 4.5 percent will have to decrease their data security, and 11.5 percent forecast that budget cuts they are making will result in an increase in service interruptions.
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