Emerson Network Power has announced the results of a survey of more than 240 U.S. data center professionals from a variety of industries showing that data centers are progressing with initiatives to improve data center infrastructure management (DCIM), but still lack the critical insight required to improve availability, enhance efficiency and manage capacity.

The survey revealed that three factors-lack of visibility into system utilization, absence of documented efficiency strategies and lack of functionality within management systems-serve as the primary barriers preventing respondents from optimizing data center performance.

While virtualization is being used in the majority of the data centers-only eight percent had not virtualized at least some of their servers-44 percent still expect the number of physical servers in their primary data center to increase over the next three years. In addition, only 2 percent believe all servers in the data center will be virtualized in the next three years.

Despite what could be considered ample capacity in many facilities-65 percent are using less than 70 percent of their computing capacity-more than half (57 percent) plan to add additional servers in the next three years, and 20 percent plan to add capacity by leasing additional space from a co-location or hosting facility.

Survey respondents identified an array of management tools they are using to help them deal with the increasing complexity brought on by virtualization and other changes. The most commonly used were facility monitoring (65 percent), equipment tracking (54 percent), and cooling management (53 percent). On the other end of the spectrum, tracking virtual machines and their dependencies on underlying hardware (28 percent) and IT capacity management (27 percent) were among the least used management tools. Less than a quarter (24 percent) of respondents has achieved any integration between virtual and physical management platforms.

“If you compare managing a data center to flying an airplane, what we are seeing now is that organizations are no longer willing to fly without instruments-as they have done for the past twenty years-but have not quite reached the point of automation,” said Blake Carlson, vice president of global IT markets, Avocent business of Emerson Network Power “That is definitely the direction the industry is headed but achieving that objective will require greater integration between IT and infrastructure systems, and between the physical and virtual layers of the data center.”

To view the survey report or learn more about Emerson Network Power’s DCIM strategy, please visit www.EmersonNetworkPower.com/DCIM.