A growing number of data center managers are concerned over the amount of technology change occurring in their data centers, according to a spring survey of data center users from Emerson Network Power.

The spring installment of the biannual survey, sponsored by Emerson Network Power, polled members of the Data Center Users’ Group® (DCUG), an association of influential data center, IT and facility managers, and captured input from more than 160 respondents across North America. The questions covered a variety of data center topics, including data center monitoring and management, capacity constraints, third-party colocation providers, energy efficiency and heat and power density.

The survey results show that, for the first time since the survey began in 2005, technology change is one of the top five biggest concerns for data center professionals. Up until this point, the highest technology change had reached on the list of concerns was in the top eight. When asked to identify their top facility/network concerns, 26% of respondents cited technology change, ranking it fifth, behind heat density (32%), energy efficiency (39%), availability (39%) and adequate monitoring (51%).

“It’s a fact of life that data centers are always being asked to do more: handle more capacity, deliver more availability and achieve more efficiency. As companies continue to migrate to the cloud and shift from owned IT assets to acquiring computing as a service or utility, greater demand is increasing the frequency and level of technology change needed as data centers become more driven by storage and the need to not only store data but to also access it quickly and use it effectively,” said Bob Miller, vice president, global solutions sales, Emerson Network Power in North America, and a member of the DCUG board of directors. “This sentiment was reflected in Emerson Network Power’s recent ‘Data Center 2025’ report, where most data center professionals surveyed agreed that the data center will be undergoing massive change within the next 11 years, and that the pace of that change will be increasing.”

The survey also shows that data center managers seem to be doing a better job of managing their capacity. Forty-three% of respondents see current capacity lasting five years or more, with 27% of that group confident that it will last beyond six years. The number of respondents who answered six years or more is the highest it has ever been since that question was first asked in 2008. In 2013, the highest percentage of respondents (26%) chose three years, while in 2012 (22%), 2009 (31%), 2008 (26%) and 2007 (23%) the highest percentages of respondents said two years.

Additional results include the following:

  • The average power density per rack was 6.7 kW, up slightly from 5.9 kW in the Spring 2013 survey. The average maximum power density per rack was 11.7 kW, up from 9.3 kW in Spring 2013 survey.
  • Twenty-two% of respondents cite budget constraints as the single biggest difficulty they encounter in trying to measure and manage energy efficiency.
  • Forty-nine% of respondents currently measure power usage effectiveness (PUE), down slightly from 56% in the Spring 2013 survey.
  • Fifty-six% of respondents increased the temperature of their data center within the past 12 months.
  • In the past year, 40% of respondents experienced a water leak or incursion in their data center.