Different Cloud Survey, Same Cloud Adoption Concerns

The Uptime Institute's 2012 Data Center Survey is the latest to show that companies remain reluctant to use the cloud because of security concerns. These firms seem to be waiting for an 'all clear' from some higher authority--but with a disruptive technology such as the cloud, that may never happen, CIO.com columnist Bernard Golden says.

By Bernard Golden
Wed, August 01, 2012

CIO — The Uptime Institute, a well-known and -respected organization that focuses on data center best practices and economics, recently released its 2012 Data Center Survey (registration required).

Uptime does an annual survey to determine overall data center spend and trends in investment, as well as major topics of concern to data center practitioners throughout the world. Two things leapt out at me from this year's survey.

  1. There is little end-user movement toward using external data center space providers.
  2. The primary reasons cited by respondents about why they're reluctant to adopt cloud computing involved security, compliance and reliability.

Both points are puzzling and, to my mind, represent practices that look toward the past rather than into the future.

To Build, Buy or Rent, That Is the Question

The sentiment is universal, according to the survey. Throughout the world, in every geography, end users are building data center capacity. Over the past five years, 80 percent of respondents have built new data centers or upgraded an existing facility. Despite this, 30 percent of respondents expect to run out of capacity at one or more sites during 2012—and most of them plan to meet the demand for additional space by "consolidating servers and upgrading their facilities infrastructure."

It's odd that these users don't recognize the trend for what it is—unstoppable growth of demand for computing resources. (This will be addressed again below.) Server consolidation and facilities upgrade are a good stop-gap strategy, but they're only truly viable if you expect that demand will peak. In other words, measures like these will get you through the next year, but they aren't a long-term solution if you expects demand to continue growing.

Analysis: Fear of Change Impedes Cloud Adoption for Many Companies

Nothing in the survey, however, indicates that respondents are looking far enough ahead to create a long-term plan responsive to likely demand growth. "Consolidate and improve" is a classic "solve today's problems and hope for the best" response. The question is, what will these IT organizations do next year, when the same growth dynamic exhibits itself?

More troubling is the continued emphasis on "own and operate" rather than "outsource and focus." The data center industry is changing rapidly, with established and new operators alike constructing gigantic facilities to provide data center services. These companies can operate data center footage far more efficiently and cheaply than any entity can do for itself.

For example, Cyrus One is building a million square foot data center in Chandler, Ariz. Total headcount there will be 50 people. This is not to mention the cost advantage accruing to the large providers based on power rates, design efficiencies and bulk purchasing power.

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