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Data Centers' Biggest Challenge? Data Growth

It would appear that data growth - not lack of space, power or cooling, is the biggest challenge for large-enterprise data centers heading into 2011, according to new research from Gartner, Inc. The research company says this growth is the biggest data center hardware infrastructure challenge with 47 percent of  respondents putting it in their top three challenges, followed by system performance and scalability at 37 percent, and network congestion and connectivity architecture at 36 percent. Gartner's "User Survey Analysis: Key Trends Shaping the Future of Data Center Infrastructure Through 2011"  presents the survey results of 1,004 large enterprises from eight countries and found that 62 percent will be investing in data archiving or retirement by the end of 2011 to address the data growth challenge.

Gartner's April Adams, research director, data center transformation & security technology and service provider research, notes that while all the top data center hardware infrastructure challenges impact cost to some degree, data growth is particularly associated with increased costs relative to hardware, software, associated maintenance, administration and services. With cost containment remains a key focus for most organizations, positioning technologies to show that they are tightly linked to cost containment, in addition to their other benefits, is a promising approach, she adds.

"With more and more IT organizations focusing on (and in many cases being measured on) business metrics, technology and service providers will want to ensure that they're doing a good job communicating not only the technological benefits of their solutions, but also how they impact opex (for example, by improving management capabilities or reducing power requirements) or otherwise improve ROI," says Adams.

She adds that data growth was reported as the biggest data center hardware infrastructure challenge by large enterprises in almost every market segment they evaluated in this survey was not a surprise. "It supports what Gartner has observed generally - that many large organizations have been struggling with the management of data given significant growth in the unstructured data."

In addition to data archiving and retirement projects, other high-ranking IT projects that address the issue of data growth are data security, storage consolidation, storage management tools, and data reduction techniques.

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