Cloud computing may be dominating headlines in the IT world, but only 14.9 percent of data centers are currently using the approach, according to a new survey from AFCOM, a trade association for data center professionals. Another 46.3 percent of data facilities have considered cloud computing and opted not to implement it.
In contrast, 73 percent of the 436 commercial, government and university data centers polled by AFCOM have implemented virtual processing. AFCOM conducted the survey of its worldwide membership in October.
"The industry needs a clear definition of cloud computing and virtualization," said AFCOM chief executive Jill Eckhaus in a statement. "We've supported data center professionals for three decades now and many of these terms seem merely repackaged and over-marketed new names for technologies that have actually been around for quite some time."
While some cloud computing technologies may be marketing hype, green IT is very much a reality in the data center, according to the survey. Among the respondents, 71.3 percent said they have greening initiatives under way, although just 42.2 percent would call the project "formal." Of those that have implemented green practices, 60.8 percent said they are using less power as a result, 51.4 percent have seen cooling efficiencies and 11.5 percent are saving on water usage.
Still, said Eckhaus, the industry needs to get more aggressive on the green IT front, "particularly in government agencies where greening lags behind private industry."
Another area where data center managers need to focus, according to AFCOM, is in developing more comprehensive cyberterrorism policies and procedures. While 60.9 percent of survey participants said they recognize cyberterrorists as a data center concern, 34.4 percent have included it in disaster recovery plans, and only 24.8 percent address the subject in their policies and procedures manuals. And while 82.4 percent of data centers perform background security checks on potential employees, only 19.7 percent provide employees with cyberterrorism training.
Meanwhile, the mainframe may be losing ground in the data center, says AFCOM. According to the survey, 39.6 percent of data facilities still operate mainframe computer systems. Of those that continue to use mainframes, 45.7 percent said that they expect one or more to need a replacement over the next two years -- 32.9 percent of those will opt to replace the mainframe with high-end servers or other alternatives. "It's time to decide where the mainframe is still viable and needed," said Eckhaus, "and where high-end servers can do a more efficient job."
In seeking to save money, data centers are also turning to consolidation. 62.1 percent said they are either in the process of consolidating one or more data centers, or are seriously considering it.
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