AFCOM 2009/2010 Data Center Trends Survey Reveals Weakness in World Cyber Terrorism Readiness and Government Greening

Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:00am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

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
ORANGE, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
AFCOM, the world`s largest data center association, today announces its
2009/2010 Data Center Trends survey that offers perspective and insights on the
major trends facing 436 commercial, government and college/university data
centers throughout the world; twenty percent responsible for budgets of $10M
plus. Significant findings 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. 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. 

"We designed this survey to better understand current trends in the industry,
and to help our members understand what others are doing to get to that next
level in operational effectiveness. In many cases, the results and analysis of
this survey are bringing awareness to areas that need improvement. For instance,
the industry needs a clear definition of cloud computing and virtualization;
we`ve supported data center professionals for three decades now and many of
these terms seem merely re-packaged and over-marketed new names for technologies
that have actually been around for quite some time," said Jill Eckhaus, CEO of
AFCOM. "Our analysis also 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." 

A closer look - survey background

AFCOM is the only 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. The survey,
completed in early October in conjunction with AFCOM`s bi-annual Data Center
World Conference and Expo, asked respondents questions regarding their greening
initiatives, cyber terrorism, emerging technologies, mainframe usage and about
their plans for consolidation, performance monitoring and storage strategies,
among other initiatives. 

A closer look - survey results

Data center greening, no longer just a concept, but obstacles still exist

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, a real threat that needs more attention

Cyber terrorism has become even more prevalent in the past few years. From
hackers attacking NATO computers to cyber-attacks in China, Estonia, Russia,
Ukraine, South Korea and the U.S., it`s not likely a threat that will go away
any time soon. 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 spurred by economic reality

Data center consolidation has historically been cyclical in this industry. 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 breaking through - from cluster to cloud

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

AFCOM`s Data Center Institute (DCI) has undertaken an in-depth research project
on the myths and realities surrounding cloud computing that will be released at
AFCOM`s 2010 Data Center World in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7-11. To register,

The state and fate of the mainframe

Only 39.6 percent of all data centers worldwide still operate mainframe computer
systems today. In data centers that have mainframes installed, the median number
in residence is two. And of all the data centers that have mainframes installed,
45.7 percent expect to replace one or more of them in the next two years. Of
those that are expecting to replace their mainframes during the next two years,
more than two out of three, or 67.1 percent will be replacing them with new
mainframes, and 32.9 percent will be replacing them with high-end servers or
other alternatives. 

Based on this data, AFCOM concludes that the number of data centers using
mainframes today versus five and ten years ago, is going down, and the future
will continue this trend. Approximately one-third, or 32.9 percent of all
existing mainframe data centers will no longer use mainframes in the future. Of
all data centers with no installed mainframes today, 38.2 percent report that
they did have them ten years ago and another 27.2 percent had them five years
ago. And, according to respondents, five years from now, an additional one-third
of those with mainframes today will no longer have them. 

Performance monitoring gets more active

As witnessed by the number of performance monitoring tools and dashboards on
display at AFCOM`s recent 2009 Data Center World in Orlando, performance
monitoring in the data center is finally coming into its own, with many critical
systems and components under 24/7 scrutiny. As the consequence of error in the
data center has risen so dramatically (with the entire company dependent on all
systems being continually available), the need to find and correct any and all
malfunctions on the fly has become a necessity. In many cases, automated
performance monitoring helps fulfill that need. 

According to the survey, power consumption is now being monitored by 68.1
percent of respondents, network traffic by 65.8 percent, storage capacity by
64.4 percent, server utilization by 61.7 percent and Web security by 54.1

Data center facilities in terms of growth, expansion and relocation

Sixty percent of all respondents report that they expect to require additional
data center space within the next five years. 32.6 percent expect to handle the
growth and need for additional space by physically adding to and/or upgrading
existing facilities and 30 percent report they will relocate to a new facility.
Additional growth and expansion strategies to include 22.0 percent that will
utilize a co-location center to meet their increased space requirements, 13.8
percent will use managed hosting services, and 11.2 percent will add pods or
Data centers-in-a-box. 

Changing storage requirements of the data center

Nearly two out of three worldwide data centers, or 63 percent, report a dramatic
increase in their storage requirements over the past five years. Another 35.9
percent report a `slight` to `moderate` increase and only percent of all data
centers saw their storage requirement decrease. Somewhat surprisingly, only 8.3
percent report that the main cause of their increased storage needs has been
government regulations - while a whopping 77.5 percent attribute it to business

"We`ll use the results of the survey to help us plan tracks, sessions and round
tables at the 2010 Data Center World conference in Nashville in order to help
professionals develop solutions for trouble spots and share successes and
failures to date around all these trends," continued Jill Eckhaus, AFCOM CEO.
AFCOM`s next Data Center World conference and trade show is scheduled for March
7-11, 2010 at the GaylordOpryland Resort & Convention Center. For more
information and to register, visit "It`s going to be a
great show and corresponds with AFCOM`s 30-year anniversary - if you cover or
work in the data center, you`ll want to be there. Our show isn`t just a display
of data center products; it`s a place where extraordinary education takes

Editor`s Note: The results reported above are top level results for all aspects
of the trends survey from greening to cyber terrorism, emerging technologies,
storage solutions and the future of the mainframe. For the full survey report,


AFCOM ( is a leading association supporting the educational and
professional development needs of data center professionals around the globe.
Established in 1980, AFCOM currently boasts more than 4,500 members and 38
chapters worldwide, and provides data center professionals with unique
networking opportunities and educational forums and resources through its annual
Data Center World Conferences, published magazines, regional chapters, research
and hotline services, and industry alliances. 

About Data Center World Conference

Data Center World, operated by AFCOM, the world`s leading 4,500-member data
center association, is the industry`s premier networking and educational
conference, and occurs bi-annually. Thousands of data center professionals, from
many of the largest corporations across all industries, government
organizations, and academic institutions in the world attend Data Center World
to share, discuss and learn about the latest data center trends, technologies
and best practices, as well as products and services by some of the world`s
leading data center technology and service providers. Tradeshow Week recognizes
Data Center World as one of the 50 fastest growing shows in the U.S. (2006, 2007
and 2008). For more information or to register for the upcoming AFCOM 2010 Data
Center World scheduled for March 7-10, 2010 at the GaylordOpryland Resort &
Convention Center in Nashville, TN, visit

Atomic PR for AFCOM
Allyson Stinchfield, 415-402-0230
Lindsey Pappas, 415-402-0230

Copyright Business Wire 2009

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