Data center technologies cause concern despite benefits

IT professionals worry maintaining sophisticated data center technologies could outweigh the benefits

Recent research shows IT executives worry the challenges associated with implementing and maintaining next-generation data center technologies such as virtualization and power consumption controls could outweigh the potential benefits.

Separate surveys found that IT executives and high-tech managers are concerned over their ability to both manage virtual operations and maintain the efficiencies virtualization deployments promise to deliver. Research results also showed that while companies seek ways to monitor and reduce power consumption in their data centers, doing so with their current tools is challenging and limited.

"Our survey confirms that businesses are indeed challenged most by the need to effectively manage the increased complexity in today's data centers, while at the same time keeping networks running smoothly and power consumption costs down," said Ben Grimes, Avocent CTO and vice president of corporate strategy, in a statement.

Avocent in April 2008 commissioned Actionable Research to survey nearly 300 executives and IT managers, and the company this week at VMworld shared the results. According to Avocent, 89 percent of companies polled currently use server virtualization, most of which is in production. About one-third of those indicated their companies adopted virtualization to reduce hardware costs, and another 32 percent said reducing power consumption motivated them to deploy virtual servers.

About 20 percent of respondents to Avocent's survey reported losing a virtual server location, and about one-quarter have experienced the disappearance of a virtual server from their system entirely. The findings also show that 45 percent of those polled are concerned about being able to get virtualization skills in house, with about the same amount saying getting skilled IT staff in house is among the biggest data-center headaches today. More than 42 percent indicated that change and configuration management ranked as a top concern, with another 40 percent saying infrastructure management caused concerns. Another 44 percent worried about protecting virtual servers from failure.

When it comes to measuring power consumption, more than 80 percent find this capability valuable, and 55 percent of respondents said they measure power usage in their data center, primarily at the UPS level.

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