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Is Your Data Center Expanding or Shrinking?

data centerOne of the things that virtualization and cloud computing technologies have promised us is the idea that our IT systems will have a smaller data center footprint, reducing space, power, and cooling needs. In fact, this is one of the major selling points that virtualization proponents like to spout. Accordingly, with the rise in adoption of these technologies, we should be seeing the data center shrink.

According to a new report from the Uptime Institute, however, this is anything but the case. Somewhere between 30 percent and half of data centers surveyed in one study are expanding, either permanently through facility additions or temporarily through new leasing. This suggests that there is a significant strain on our infrastructure, a strain that virtualization hasn’t prevented.

Let’s take a look at some of the relevant numbers from the study. The study looked at 525 data centers, about three quarters of which are located in North America. Here are some of the results:

•    36 percent indicated that they would run out of space, cooling capacity and power capacity by 2012.

•    40 percent intend to build a new data center.

•    29 percent intend to lease additional data center space in a collocated center.

•    20 percent intent to move more workload from IT to the cloud.

Those numbers are similar to the results in other studies and surveys as of late. A study from Afcom – the association of data center managers – surveyed 360 members and discovered that nearly 30 percent are building new data centers or expanding existing ones right now, with another 20 percent indicating that they plan to do so within two years.

Among larger companies, the numbers are even more staggering. For companies with revenues of $1 billion or more and more than 5,000 employees, 85 percent are likely to expand the data center this year.

Does this mean that virtualization and cloud computing have failed to prevent data center sprawl? Hardly. As the economy becomes more and more digitized, those kinds of technologies have provided companies the ability to survive during a significant recession. As many regions begin to emerge from that recession, the next natural step is to shore up those data center assets and look toward expansion.


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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.