AFCOM’s own State of the Data Center Report proved a highlight of the recently concluded Data Center World, which was held this week at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Jill Yaoz, AFCOM ‘s CEO and the organizations unveiled the report for media at press conference early Wednesday morning. The report was released more broadly as part of Data Center World’s closing session on Thursday. More than 800 people attended the event, according to AFCOM.

AFCOM, the world's leading data center association, today announced the release of “The State of the Data Center,” a status report on data centers highlighting results from a survey of 358 data center managers from around the world. AFCOM conducted the survey to reveal how data centers are adapting to the most critical challenges, technologies and economic factors. This latest report proves top issues include the demands of space, energy efficiency, and physical and logical security.  The full report is available to AFCOM members.

Key findings in the report include:

•  Data Centers are Not Prepared for Disasters: More than 15 percent of respondents said their data center has no plan for data backup and recovery.  50 percent have no plan to replace damaged equipment after a disaster; two-thirds of all data centers have no plan or procedure to deal with Cyber Crime.  Yaoz also noted that many companies would find their plans lacking because they had not been updated.

•  Growing Cloud Adoption: There has been significant growth in the adoption of cloud computing. Last year, only 14.9 percent of all data centers had implemented the technology. Today, that percentage has grown to 36.6 percent, with another 35.1 percent seriously considering it. AFCOM believes that cloud computing will continue on this trajectory for the next five years, with 80 to 90 percent of all data centers adopting some form of the cloud during that period.

•  Demise of the Mainframe: While historically one of the most critical elements of any data center, today, mainframe usage continues to shrink. While AFCOM predicts mainframes will exist forever in some capacity, their prevalence has been severely diminished.

• Web Application Proliferation: In AFCOM’s survey, 86.6 percent of all respondents reported an increase in the number of web applications they are running today as compared to just three years ago.

•  Bigger and Better: Even in a down economy, data centers have been expanding in size with 44.2 percent occupying more floor space that they did three years ago. Another 49.4 percent are currently in the process of expanding or are planning to in the near future. Only 16.4 percent have downsized.

•  Greening the Data Center: While only 3.9 percent of respondents have implemented solar power in their data center, AFCOM feels this represents a trend towards integrating renewable energy as part of making more sustainable and energy efficient data centers. While the industry is certainly concerned with the environment, they look to greening as a great way to save substantial money now and even more as time goes on.

• Biometric Security Use: Security is always a top concern for data centers, but AFCOM’s survey found the growing use of biometric screening for authorization and access has grown, with a surprising 25 percent of facilities installing the technology to better protect their data centers.

“When it comes to disaster recovery, the survey results are indicative of the investment activity we have seen in data centers throughout the recession-focus on immediate needs with business continuity and disaster recovery planning considered a luxury,” said Richard Sawyer, Worldwide Practice Leader, Critical Facilities Assurance at HP Critical Facility Services, and member of the Data Center Institute Board of Directors. “But now, with the regional disasters in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, and the turmoil in the Middle East, we are reminded it is a management necessity to be prepared for anything.”  

The conference, which opened on Monday, kicked off with a keynote delivered by Imation's Subodh Kulkarni who warned about a technology tidal wave. He cited the increasing use of mobile devices in and out of the data center as a crucial reason for developing clear plans for preventing security breaches. Some 222 million individuals in 2009-30% of which were in the health-care industry-were impacted by these breaches. The conference program included many other high-quality presentations in six tracks-Cloud, Data Center Management, Case Studies. Data Center Protection, Facilities, and Products. Many of these sessions drew capacity or near-capacity clouds. Last, attendees at the Wednesday night banquet saw Tom Roberts, manager of Data Center Facilities for Trinity Information Services recognized as Data Center Manager of the Year.

Judges recognized Roberts for his 29-year career at Trinity Health, where his responsibilities include the facility and infrastructure readiness of three corporate data centers and 25 hospital-based computer centers for in his 29 years with the company. He also handles capacity planning and asset management for all the equipment located in the data and computer centers. His current projects include evaluating the readiness of the hospital computer centers for the continued rollout of common clinical, financial, and ERP applications for all Trinity Health hospitals. Other finalists included Billie R. Haggard, senior vice president of data centers for CoreSite, and Abdulaziz Al-Shafi, an administrator of IT computer operations for Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi ARAMCO).