Business Growth Through IT

White Paper from IDC and Rittal: Data Centres Are Increasingly Becoming a Competitive Factor

In a recent White Paper sponsored by Rittal, provider of IT infrastructure solutions, international market research company IDC examined the influence that data centres have on the economic success of small and medium-sized businesses. The results show that IT infrastructure and especially having one’s own data centre are perceived as essential in permanently securing competitiveness and expansion. The White Paper also shows that companies want to take advantage of new technologies such as cloud, Big Data and mobile computing in order to develop new revenue opportunities. The results are based on an IDC survey of around 500 managers and IT heads in medium-sized companies in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and Italy.

The most important findings at a glance:

Direct correlation between IT spending and revenue growth

If a company was commercially successful last year, this has a direct impact on the IT budget. As many as 98% of organizations with increasing sales reported that they would enlarge their investment in IT, or at least keep it at the same level. Furthermore, the survey showed that economically successful companies invest an average 20% more in their IT than businesses with flat sales figures.

Having one’s own data centre is the key to success

No fewer than 93% of the IT managers questioned found it important or very important for a company to have its own data centre. Of those companies surveyed that registered a growth in sales last year, 97% operated their own data centre.

Energy efficiency offers the potential to cut costs

Companies have some catching up to do, particularly when it comes to energy efficiency: 57% of respondents report PUE (power usage effectiveness) values exceeding 2.0. For every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed by the IT equipment, roughly the same amount again is consumed by cooling and further building and plant technology. The PUE represents the energy consumed in the data centre in relation to the energy consumption of the computer: The closer the PUE value gets to one, the more efficient the data centre is. In industrial applications, a PUE value of 1.4 is regarded as excellent while large IT service provider with optimized systems reach values of 1.2 or less.

The data centre is too cold

The IT managers surveyed indicated that they operate their data centres at an average of temperature of 15.5°C. According to IDC, there are enormous savings potentials in this area. Instead of cooling entire rooms, it is more efficient to work with direct cooling within the rack or in the individual aisles. As a result, a higher overall temperature is allowed in the room, reducing the costs of cooling.

Greater reliability needed

Existing redundancy concepts are often out-of-date and not sufficiently reliable to ensure the high level of availability that customers expect in today’s competitive market environment. 24% percent of the IT administrators questioned cited redundant infrastructure as the key area in need of modernising. Overall, only 46% of IT experts assess the viability of their own IT as very high. Nevertheless, the majority (79%) of IT decision-makers believe that none of the demands is insurmountable.

Investment backlog in the data centre

The participants surveyed reported that their data centres were an average of 6.9 years old. With this age it is already difficult to use modern IT equipment as they have a higher energy density and must be highly available. For example, the energy efficiency of IT components and the cooling concepts for racks and server rooms have evolved considerably in recent years. This creates demand for IT modernisation.

New technologies are changing IT strategy

IT systems need to evolve continuously so that a company’s own data centre will also be able to meet such business needs as greater agility and cost efficiency in future. Six out of ten companies would like to meet the new market requirements with public or hybrid cloud capacity, but they shy away from the risks. This means, for example, a greater focus on in-house data centres, which are operated by the company itself and offer private cloud solutions. More than 75% of managers expect a modified IT strategy, either due to mobile computing or as a result of Big Data.

This research has shown that IT is an important factor in achieving business goals. This means that many companies are willing to invest in technologies such as cloud, Big Data, or mobile computing. The key to success is having one’s own data centre, as aspects such as reliability and availability have a high priority”, says Dirk Miller, Rittal’s Executive Vice President, Marketing.

“IT infrastructures need to be renewed to keep pace with the market. The question is whether to modernise or to rebuild”, explains Bernd Hanstein, Vice President Product Management IT at Rittal. “We see a great deal of potential in efficient, adaptive cooling concepts. Then IT managers can fully exploit the advantages of greater flexibility and reductions in ancillary costs.”

Modular data centres increase agility

The concept of a modular data centre helps companies achieve greater agility and scalability. This permits shorter product life cycles, as well as the more rapid commissioning of new systems or implementation of new regulations. Even if these concepts are still relatively new on the market, awareness of them is growing. According to IDC, this market segment has recorded double-digit growth in recent years. In EMEA, investments worth hundreds of millions amounts have been made.

“Modular data centres are a rational way of meeting current business challenges. The preconfigured modules or containers tend to be more cost effective than newly built conventional data centres, and they can be set up within a few weeks”, explains Chris Ingle, Vice President, IDC.

The study is available at http://www.rittal.com/idc-whitepaper

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Rittal Enclosures, Power Distribution, Climate Control, IT Infrastructure, Software & Services – http://www.rittal.co.uk

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