Significant findings of AFCOM’s 2009/2010 Data Center Trends survey reveal that though threat of cyber terrorism is real, it is not being adequately addressed by the world’s keepers of the most confidential financial, military and personal data.

Survey also reveals that despite hype around cloud computing, only 14.9 percent of data centers have deployed cloud solutions to date – and it shines a new light on the fate of mainframes.

In addition, it reveals the government is behind its private industry counterparts in terms of greening initiatives.

Meanwhile, it shows that the mainframe may be losing its place in worldwide data centers, as servers become more capable.

And cloud computing, despite the hype, hasn’t pushed beyond 15 percent acceptance at this point. In comparison, 73 percent have implemented virtual processing.

Data center greening

The survey re-iterates that greening of the data center is no longer just a concept – it is actually taking place, and on a large scale, with 71.3 percent of all respondents indicating they are actively engaged in greening initiatives at this time.

And while 71.3 percent are, in fact, engaged in greening, only 42.2 percent have a “formal” greening initiative.

According to respondents, the most important results they have experienced as a result of implementing green measures are in power efficiency, 60.8 percent report they are using less power and 51.4 percent have implement cooling efficiency strategies. In addition to power and cooling efficiencies, 11.5 percent also report a significant savings in water usage.

Data centers & cyber terrorism

Data center professionals must be well-equipped to handle and respond to cyber terrorist attacks, but according to AFCOM’s survey, there’s considerable room for improvement.

Respondents revealed that 60.9 percent of all data centers worldwide officially recognize cyber terrorism as a threat they need to deal with, but only a little over one-third (34.4 percent) have included it in their disaster/recovery plans, which would include their best defense plans if attacked.

Only one in four, or 24.8 percent, has addressed cyber terrorism in their policies and procedures manuals and only 60.2 percent have a written policies and procedures manual.

Meanwhile, less than one in five, or 19.7 percent provide any cyber terrorism employee training. On the positive side, however, 82.4 percent report that they do perform background security checks on all potential new employees, another solid defense against cyber terrorists.

Data center consolidation

As the economy suffers, more companies have traditionally looked to consolidation as a method of saving money. The economic downturn we are experiencing today is no exception, with 62.1 percent of all respondents either already in the process of consolidating one or more data centers, or seriously considering it.

More than half of respondents (52.1 percent) plan to relocate their newly consolidated data center to another existing facility, or build an entirely new one to accommodate the additional requirements.

Emerging technologies

According to the survey, the technologies with the highest levels of adoption in today’s data centers are: virtual processing, implemented by 72.9 percent of all respondents, Web applications (70.4 percent), automation (54.8 percent) cluster computing (50. percent), and cloud computing (14.9 percent).

Surprisingly, in addition to the slim 14.9 percent who utilize cloud computing, this technology has been considered by an additional 46.3 percent, but never implemented.

“Our analysis shows that data center managers need to develop more comprehensive cyber terrorism policies, and get more aggressive in greening, particularly in government agencies where greening lags behind private industry. Finally, it’s time to decide where the mainframe is still viable and needed, and where high-end servers can do a more efficient job,” said Jill Eckhaus, CEO of AFCOM.

AFCOM is the data center association that represents both the IT and facilities side of the data center. Respondents, part of AFCOM’s 4,500 member data center sites, represent 27 countries, 83 percent in the U.S. and 17 percent overseas; 60 percent are responsible for Information Technology, 31 percent Facilities and 9 percent represent other roles in the data center

AFCOM 2010 Data Center World will take place March 7-10, 2010 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN.

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