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IBM Study Highlights Data Center Efficiencies

How do you know if you’re running an efficient data center? A new report from IDC commissioned by IBM explains what separates the efficient enterprises from the inefficient ones.

Although the full report won’t be released until April, IBM released a preview of some of the results this week. The 65-question survey asked about key efficiency measures (everything from budgets and networks information to storage management and governance).

Of the 308 responses from 7 countries (and across 25 industries), only one in five (21 percent) are operating “highly efficient” data centers; the majority (62 percent) are classified as “moderately efficient,” and 17 percent are “inefficient.”

What separates the top from the bottom? For one thing, highly efficient data centers allocate 50 percent or more of their budget to “new products and innovation” instead of maintenance (which consumes up to 47 percent of the budget). For inefficient data centers, only 35 percent of the budget goes to new projects and 65 percent is spent on maintaining the existing infrastructure. (If maintaining and attracting IT staff is important, your enterprise will want to be investing in new technologies and projects -- so you’ll want to be efficient.)

IBM says that IT leaders who design more flexibility into their IT optimization are from efficient organizations. Such leaders are two times more likely than those working in inefficient data centers to be among the first to adopt new technology, and they do so in smaller increments. Furthermore, they’ve virtualized nearly half (48 percent) of their servers; those in the least efficient data centers have virtualized just 27 percent.

Efficient enterprises are also more likely to move VMs across servers (81 percent say they do so); only a quarter (26 percent) of inefficient enterprises take advantage of this feature. Efficiency helps data centers meet IT’s “do-more-with-less” directive: they manage three times more servers per administrator than do inefficient data centers, and they implement four to six times more storage optimization techniques.

Efficient enterprises also have stronger business continuity: 90 percent of IT leaders at efficient enterprises replicate their primary site with an active-active approach, whereas only 21 percent of inefficient enterprises do so.

You can request a copy of the report upon its release here (registration is required).

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted by Jim Powell on 03/16/2012 at 11:53 AM