Uptime Institute’s 2017 data center survey: IT resilience grows, cloud adoption lags

By John O'Hanlon
The cost of not having a robust plan for managing your company's data properly can be very high – a major outage at a data center is an existential...

The cost of not having a robust plan for managing your company's data properly can be very high – a major outage at a data center is an existential threat to any business that relies on it to store and manage its operational and transactional processes. Even if recovery is possible, the consequences can set the business back severely through loss of productivity and the consequent dip in revenue.

Down the line, customer relations may sour as a result of system unreliability. The list goes on and any senior executive should be concerned about it – after all, top jobs may be on the line as the dominoes fall.

If they want to sleep better at night they should be moving towards IT-based resiliency, says Matt Stansberry, Uptime Institute's Senior Director of Content & Publications.

Uptime Institute is best known for its Tier Certification, accepted as the design, build and operational standard for data centers round the globe. Furthermore, one of its key roles is to help businesses assess and improve their strategies in respect of data management.

This year's Data Center Industry Survey from Uptime Institute, drawn from the perspectives of more than 1,000 international data center professionals and IT practitioners, reveals that IT resilience is growing and that 68 percent of businesses rely on it.

The extent varies from sector to sector – for example 85 percent of logistics companies have a multi-site resiliency strategy that incorporates multiple data centers and relies on live IT application failover. Surprisingly, retail can only muster 58 percent and is one of the sectors with the lowest adoption rate. What really surprises Stansberry, though, is that only a third of companies say they will meet the demand for increased data center capacity by shifting workloads to the cloud.

“Many people don't seem to be willing to throw out their legacy systems but are still investing in diesel generators and backup power,” he says.

One statistic thrown up by the 2017 survey has changed very little over the last four years: Sixty-five percent of organizations deploy their IT assets in an enterprise-owned data center. Twenty-two percent use a colocation or multi-tenant data center provider and only 13 percent have moved their assets to the cloud.

“It is moving slower than I'd have thought,” says Stansberry.

“It is probably because it's not easy to re-architect their legacy applications for a cloud environment.”

Digital transformation is a seismic and traumatic operation for a large organization, and it can be costly too, but it does clear the way to future growth. So don't expect an exodus of enterprise data centers’ workloads to co-location or the cloud. Inertia is an enemy to change.

Stansberry predicts that investment in traditional data centers will continue for some years to come. Though Uptime Institute still earns its bread by monitoring the design, build, commissioning and operation of data centers, it has a big role in promoting effective management policies to its clients and across its network. More than 70 percent of respondents to the 2017 survey admit that their organizational processes for evaluating colocation and cloud providers left room for improvement and at worst were incoherent.

“Managers may not have the breadth of vision to make effective decisions. We are really going to work on helping people look across silos.”

The survey does show that there's a much more realistic awareness of the business-critical nature of data to a business and the consequences of outages. However, though 90 percent of organizations say they conduct root cause analysis of any IT outage, only 60 percent report that they measure the cost of downtime as a business metric.

There still seems to be something of a gap between perception and action.


Uptime Institute will be holding a webinar on Tuesday, May 2 to deliver in-depth results, analysis and commentary on key findings from this year’s survey. Topics will include the impact cloud computing has on capacity planning, major challenges facing IT infrastructure organizations today, the adoption rates for new technologies, and more.

For more information on the survey results, and to sign up for the webinar, click here.


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