Data center monitoring capabilities, availability and changes in technology are the leading top-of-mind issues for data center managers, according to a fall survey of data center users from Emerson Network Power.

The fall installment of the biannual survey polled members of the Data Center Users’ Group® (DCUG), an association of influential data center, IT and facility managers, captured input from more than 130 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 densities. A report of the results was released this month during the Fall 2014 DCUG conference in Atlanta.

The survey results show that, for the second time this year, technology change continues to be an increasing concern on the minds of data center professionals. In the Spring 2014 survey, concerns over technology change rose from eight to number five; it continues to climb this fall as it tied for second place. When asked to identify their top three facility/network concerns, 35% of respondents cited adequate monitoring/data center management capabilities, followed by 34% for both availability/uptime and technology changes. Concerns over energy efficiency dropped from 44% in the fall of 2013 to 32% in this survey.

“As reflected in our recent ‘Data Center 2025’ report, data centers are undergoing massive changes in technology at an increasing pace. Concern over this continues to rise among data center managers, as advances in technology and interconnectivity are forcing data centers to support more critical, interdependent devices and IT systems,” said Bob Miller, vice president, global solutions sales, Emerson Network Power in North America, and a member of the DCUG board of directors. “While energy efficiency is still a concern, focus is clearly shifting toward greater availability and the need for more capacity.”

More than one third of survey respondents indicated that they are able to accommodate additional compute capacity without constraints -  but available power, cooling and floor space were listed as restraining the growth capabilities of almost two thirds of the respondents.

Additional responses include the following:

  • Seventy-eight percent indicated they have unplugged unused servers (i.e. ghost servers) in the past 12 months.
  • Fifty-five percent of respondents have increased the temperature in their data center during the course of the year.
  • With 75% of responses, ‘resilient and highly available’ were listed as the greatest importance of data center capabilities.
  • Thirty-two percent of respondents cited they were extremely likely to incorporate commissioning services in their next data center project.

Emerson Network Power uses the data from the DCUG survey to track market issues and inform programming at future DCUG and industry events, such as the DCUG Fall Conference held each November. Presentations from this year’s conference focused on issues that drive future decisions presented by experienced users and IT industry experts included, “How a Major Bank Transformed Their Power Systems to Achieve High ROI and Low Risk”, “Assessments in Action: Great American Insurance Shows Continued Improvements” and “The Changing World of Power Distribution.”