Data Center World: Survey Shows Enterprises are Building New Data Centers

As the shift to hybrid cloud rages on, many companies plan data center footprint expansion.

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

March 21, 2019

3 Min Read
Data center

It’s no secret that while some enterprises have either replaced most of their computing infrastructure with public cloud services or are currently in progress of doing so, most companies aren’t going that route. Some haven’t done much in this area at all, while others are increasingly opting for a mix of infrastructure types: running some services in the cloud, some in colocation facilities, and keeping some on-premises.

This year’s State of the Data Center survey by AFCOM, a professional association for the data center industry, found that not only are companies not rushing to replace their own data centers with Amazon’s or Microsoft’s, but many are expanding their own footprint.

The average number of data centers per company represented (including edge locations) was 12, expected to grow to 17 over the next three years, based on survey responses. Across these companies. the average number of data centers slated for renovation is 1.8 this year and 5.4 over the next three years.

“Cloud is not the answer to everything,” Bill Kleyman, executive VP of digital solutions at Switch, said in a keynote address at Data Center World in Phoenix Wednesday, where he presented results of the survey. “Cloud has become not a replacement but a complement” to on-premises enterprise data centers. (Disclaimer: Data Center Knowledge, AFCOM, and Data Center World are all owned by Informa.)

Related:Data Center World: Why Open19 Designs Matter for Edge Computing

Most enterprise IT leaders have realized that the amount and diversity of data and applications they now deal with cannot be supported by a single infrastructure model. The amount of investment hyperscale cloud operators have recently been pouring into various hybrid-cloud solutions, which promise to make it easier for companies to use their services together with on-premises infrastructure testifies to that. Just a few years ago, it was common to hear an Amazon Web Services executive say all enterprise workloads would eventually run in AWS data centers. Not so anymore.

About 60 percent of survey respondents said they were likely to meet their data center service needs with cloud services within the next 12 months. At the same time, 45 percent said they were planning new data center builds.

Close to 40 percent of respondents worked for enterprises employing 1,000 or more people; about one-quarter were from mid-size companies; the rest worked for small, sub-100-employee companies.

In addition to the shift to the hybrid cloud model, expect changes to the tools companies use to manage their internal data centers. Three out of four respondents said they either already use predictive analytics for data center management or plan to within the next 12 months to three years.

Data center management tools have a role to play in the hybrid-cloud trend as well. Most respondents (76 percent) said they expected to see more integration between their data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software and virtualization and cloud solutions.

Confirming the findings from previous years, the survey once again showed that the industry continues struggling with recruitment challenges. This year, four in fire respondents said they were having a hard time filling at least some types of roles.

The hardest roles to fill were IT security (31 percent), cloud architects (28 percent), IT systems and applications personnel (27 percent), DevOps (24 percent), and data center facility technicians, engineers, or operators (22 percent).

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