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Two Australians will join the advisory board for the world's major data centre user organisation as it looks to expand its activities down under.

AFCOM, which has 4,000 members worldwide and operates in 32 countries, plans to be running five local chapters in 2010. It already has 100 members in chapters in Melbourne and Brisbane, with Canberra and Sydney currently establishing chapters and Adelaide the next likely target after that.

AFCOM CEO Jill Eckhaus also wants to expand the Australian presence within the Data Center Institute, the 15-member advisory board for the organisation. "We're going to be inviting a couple of Australian folks onto the board," she told iTWire. Eckhaus visited Australia in late 2009 to meet with local data centre managers.

Further down the track, Eckhaus hopes to organise educational visits by data centre managers from the US to discuss their experiences with the Australian chapters. While most data centre staff across the world have to tackle similar issues, there are some regional differences, she said.

"Where I see one difference is out here in the states a large majority of our members run corporate and government DCs, and don't use co-location facilities as much, and it seems in Australia co-location facilities are much more viable and people are using them more for their entire data centre space." There's also a notable difference when it comes to issues of terrorism, Eckhaus revealed.


AFCOM's member surveys suggest that while issues of greening data centres and controlling costs remain predominant concerns, there's increasing concern over how to deal with the potential threat of cyber-terrorism. That attitude was less visible amongst Australian managers, Eckhaus said.

"When I was talking to people in Australia there was this attitude that Australia is less of a target for terrorists. I think that's ignorant, because if something happens and you weren't prepared you're going to be in huge trouble."

Across all those issues, convincing C-level executives to spend money on data centre improvements remains a major barrier. "There's a huge need for data centre management to speak the language of the business to get what they need," Eckhaus said.

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