Top data center challenges include social networks, rising energy costs

Gartner Data Center Conference kicked off in Las Vegas Tuesday morning

Enterprise data needs will grow a staggering 650% over the next five years, and that's just one of numerous challenges IT leaders have to start preparing for today, analysts said as the annual Gartner Data Center Conference kicked off in Las Vegas Tuesday morning.

Rising use of social networks, rising energy costs and a need to understand new technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing are among the top issues IT leaders face in the evolving data center, Gartner analyst David Cappuccio said in an opening keynote address.

The 650% enterprise data growth over the next five years poses a major challenge, in part because 80% of the new data will be unstructured, Cappuccio said. IT executives have to make sure data can be audited and meet regulatory and compliance objectives, while attempting to ensure that growing storage needs don't break the bank. Technologies such as thin provisioning, deduplication and automated storage tiering can help reduce costs.

"If you're not doing thin provisioning in storage today, you need to start," Cappuccio said. "It's an easy, logical way to reduce storage consumption."

Deduplication is another technology IT officials have to examine. Many IT shops are seeing storage reductions of 50% to 60% with dedupe, which eliminates duplicate copies of stored objects and files, he said. Another money-saving technology is automated tiering, which makes sure data is stored on appropriately priced boxes. As much as 80% of data on high-speed drives is almost never used and should be moved to less expensive storage tiers, he said.

Cappuccio listed 10 key issues for IT managers to examine: virtualization; the data deluge; energy and green IT; complex resource tracking; consumerization of IT and social software; unified communications; mobile and wireless; system density; mashups and portals; and cloud computing.

Social networks are coming into the enterprise whether CIOs want them to or not, Cappuccio said. Twitter use grew an amazing 1,382% in 2008 and the majority of new users were between the ages of 39 and 51, he said.

"It is a growing phenomenon which we can't shut down," he said. Employees and customers are using wikis, blogs, Facebook and Twitter and "it's affecting you now whether you know it or not." Businesses need to examine Web-based social software platforms because they are transforming interactions with both customers and employees, he said.

IT managers are also being forced to look more at energy use, as many organizations are moving the energy bill from the facilities department to the IT department. "What's happening now is CFOs are asking embarrassing questions [about power use]," Cappuccio said.

The energy cost of two racks of servers, at full density, can exceed $105,000 a year, he said. And servers are only growing denser, with new blades that incorporate servers, storage, switches, memory and I/O capabilities. At today's prices, the money spent on supplying energy to an x86 server will exceed the cost of that server within three years, he said.

IT managers are accustomed to being asked to "do more with less," but that need is taking on new levels of meaning as IT is forced to curtail energy use, Cappuccio said. The energy bill has not traditionally been a part of the IT budget but CIOs can expect it to be incorporated into their spending plans soon, he said.

Energy costs are the main reason businesses are pursuing server virtualization. Despite what hypervisor vendors might have you believe, virtualization typically doesn't reduce complexity or management costs but the energy savings from packing multiple virtual machines onto a single box are very real, Cappuccio said.

Gartner analysts noted that there is declining level of trust in the IT market on the heels of the recession, but the research firm expects global IT spending to rise a modest 2.3% in 2010. "There's no denying that it's been a tough year," Gartner analyst Joe Baylock said. Enterprises are extending the life of old equipment to save money, but this is also subjecting users to higher failure rates caused by aging hardware.

Future spending growth might be driven by cloud computing, but Gartner analysts are predicting that most cloud spending will initially focus on building private cloud networks rather than outsourcing services to external cloud providers.

"We think private cloud services are going to be 70% to 80% of the investments over the next few years," Cappuccio said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Gartnerdata centresenterprise

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?