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AFCOM'S Data Center Institute Revisits Five Bold Predictions for the Data Center That Reflect Impact of Today's Energy and Economic Situations
This year’s bi-annual AFCOM Data Center World® 2009 at the Paris Hotel & Convention Center in Las Vegas brought together approximately 800 data center professionals under one roof to share insights, educate one another, showcase new technologies and talk about the things that really matter to them while running what some refer to as the “lifeline” of their companies – the data center. During the conference, board members that sit on AFCOM’s Data Center Institute (DCI), a leading industry think-tank, joined together with leading technology media and industry analysts to discuss some of the most critical issues facing the data center industry today.

The event began with a formal introduction by Len Eckhaus, founder of AFCOM and Data Center Institute board member, revealing the recently updated “Five Bold Predictions for the Data Center”, originally released by the Data Center Institute in March 2006. The updates take into account today’s focus on energy efficiency, and the current state of the economy. They are also based on an AFCOM Data Center Institute December 2008 survey, “The Current Economy and Its Impact on the Data Center”, which surveyed 133 AFCOM members, all large-scale data center managers.

Listed below are the original AFCOM Data Center Institute "Five Bold Predictions for the Data Center", now updated:

1. By 2015, the talent pool of qualified senior level technical and management data center professionals will shrink by 45%

2. By 2010, more than half of all data centers will have to relocate to new facilities or outsource some applications

3. Over the next five years, power failures and limits on power availability will halt data center operations at least once at more than 90% of all companies

4. By 2010, nearly 70% of all data centers will utilize some form of grid computing or other virtual processing

5. Within the next five years, one out of every four data centers will experience a business disruption serious enough to affect the entire company’s ability to continue business-as-usual

And, here are additional prediction insights directly from the AFCOM Data Center Institute board members:

Prediction #1: By 2015, the talent pool of qualified senior level technical and management data center professionals will shrink by 45%.

Due to the recession, the shrinking of the talent pool of senior level technical and management data center professionals has actually sped up. Many businesses have had to close their doors. Others have had to lay people off.

In 2002, Meta Group reported that 55% of all IT workers with mainframe experience were then over 50 years old. Seven years later that number is easily over 60%.

In many cases older, higher paid employees, the ones with the most knowledge and experience, have been offered buy-outs and this has resulted in many taking early retirement and not re-entering the work force.

AFCOM’s recent survey of its membership showed that 9.6% of all data centers expect staff cuts as part of their decreased budgets, which adds to this technology drain.

The other side of this is that with many people being layed off and retiring, the demand for that knowledge is higher than ever, so some people who were panning to retire, but have lost too much of their investment savings, are continuing to work because they can no longer afford to retire.

But overall, we do see the critical IT talent pool shrinking even more because of the economy.

Prediction #2: By 2010, more than half of all data centers will have to re-locate to new facilities or outsource some applications.

This has slowed down. Our most recent survey shows that 40.1% of all data centers cutting budgets will have to delay or cancel a planned physical expansion or relocation. Because of this, we believe we’ll see an increase in outsourcing as data center space gets tighter and capital spending drains up. With this in mind, data center managers will have to work more efficiently through projects such as consolidation and outsourcing, and begin to look more seriously at technologies such as utility and cloud computing.

Prediction #3: Over the next five years, power failures and limits on power availability will halt data center operations at least once at more than 90% of all companies.

This still stands. We do not foresee any changes in this prediction.

Prediction #4: By 2010, nearly 70% of all data centers will utilize some form of grid computing or other virtual processing.

We believe this to be happening faster than expected. Our most recent surveys indicate that 86.2% of all data centers expect to increase the use of virtualization, and to a lesser extent, other technologies such as cloud and utility computing to cut back the need for new servers.

Prediction #5: Within the next five years, one out of every four data centers will experience a business disruption serious enough to affect the entire company’s ability to continue business-as-usual.

We believe this will worsen. Reported budget cuts indicate that 6.1% of all data centers will have to decrease their physical security measures, 4.5% will have to decrease their data security, and 11.5% forecast that budget cuts they are making will result in an increase in service interruptions.

Published Friday, March 13, 2009 5:49 AM by David Marshall
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