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Data centres getting greener and leaner

The sustainable data centre market will see accelerated growth in 2013 as it becomes more focused on cost-savings.

The data centre will also move towards more efficient internal IT delivery methods such as virtualisation, software-defined networks (SDNs) and the use of converged infrastructure solutions (so-called cloud-in-a-box). A report from analyst firm Ovum says that user organisations are looking at getting the best value from their IT investments, and in 2013 they will therefore be more driven by the desire to reduce costs and improve sustainability.

Roy Illsley, Ovum Principal Analyst and author of the report, says: “Due to the rise of the data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) market, now referred to as IT financial management, closely linked to the cost and availability of energy, the role of chief sustainability officer (CSO) will become more commonplace in organisations.”

Although a small market, DCIM will become more widely used in 2013, as its initial drives will be based on costs linked to energy and change. “As organisations look more into cost-saving, energy represents a huge percentage of the cost base.”

Development and operations will also be part of sustainable IT in 2013. As a broad topic, the movement needs organizations to adopt strong governance capabilities that mandate the adoption of agile processes for business benefit to ensure that best practices are followed across the development lifecycle.

Ovum says other trends to watch in 2013 will be the complete virtualisation of all layers in the data centre from the database, to the storage, out to the user, which will also drive the need for greater automation technologies and the associated orchestration layer.

For enterprise users, the trend will focus more on sustainable IT and in particular DCIM and development and operations. “The bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) movement will become more of a reality by 2014, and the mobile policies for corporate use and the growth of smartphones will be combined to provide a path for increased adoption by employees.”

For vendors, Ovum says 2013 looks set to see wider adoption of automation technologies because CIOs will have to deliver the same or more services at reduced cost. “The hype surrounding cloud computing can lead some organisations to predict the end of the internal data centre, but Ovum considers that it is too early to make such bold statements.

“For many organisations, the question of workload classification remains a difficult issue, and the default position is to keep it on-premise. But even if the workloads are fully understood in terms of risk, cost, and value, the ability to move them is the Achilles heel of current technologies.

“This scenario is highly unlikely to change unless workloads between cloud technologies become truly portable in 2013 or security and privacy concerns evaporate,” says Illsey.


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.