Data Center of the Future Poised to Address Key Challenges, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MA – March 28, 2006 – The U.S. data center is in the midst of a significant shift as evolving business models and an ever-increasing competitive landscape require improved flexibility within the IT infrastructure. According to new research from IDC, as U.S. enterprises accelerate initiatives around growing their business, many data centers are laying out a new vision for their technology infrastructure in order to meet the challenges ahead.

The future is now as IT organizations begin condensing their data center infrastructure and deliver new and innovative IT services while increasing service levels and maintaining or even lowering IT budgets and staffing levels. "The transformation of the data center relies on the IT organization's ability to deliver increased levels of flexibility and service," said Michelle Bailey, research director for IDC's Enterprise Computing group. "Many industries continue view IT as a strategic differentiator and a static, one dimensional technology platform that does drive economies of scale will severely limit future business potential." Additionally, IT budgets, often strained by the need for real estate, power, and cooling, will shift toward building new applications and IT services that are specifically developed to drive new business. "Virtualization, simplification, optimization, and automation are all key drivers influencing the successful transformation of the U.S. data center," Bailey said.

Other key findings include:

— Unlike the massive cost-cutting initiatives of the first part of this decade, U.S. businesses are again focused on growth.

— Business initiatives that involve bringing new products to market and expanding into new customer segments are increasingly dependent on technology, making time-to-market an imperative for many IT organizations.

— New applications are increasingly becoming dependent on access to data in real- or near-time, thereby driving the need for higher levels of processing.

— Tomorrow's data center will be denser, hotter, more consolidated, highly utilized, better designed, fully redundant and very dynamic. Automation will be the key to containing costs as the need for processing continues to increase.

— Regulatory issues remain a major concern for large US organizations, further driving requirements for availability and disaster recovery.

— As data centers technologies shift and as IT becomes more tightly linked with the business, skill sets in the data center will also evolve. IDC believes that automation will moderate the number of systems administrators required, while business analysts will play an increasingly important role.

— The number of Enterprise Class U.S. data centers will approach 7,000 by 2009 as companies continue to consolidate their IT infrastructure away from smaller, more distributed IT centers.

This IDC special study, Data Center of the Future is an examination of infrastructure technology changes that customers foresee impacting the physical and operational characteristics of the future data center. It provides an overview of the most challenging business issues that U.S. companies face and lays out how business requirements are expected to change the deployment of server, storage, network and systems management technologies.

To better understand the impact that changes in business and technology will have on the future data center, IDC spoke with leading IT buyers and technology vendors. While IT vendors have the distinct advantage of being privy to new and yet undisclosed technology advances, ultimately IT buyers will determine the usefulness new technologies in relation to their business needs which in turn will dictate buying behavior.

To purchase this study, please contact IDC Sales at 508-988-7988 or email sales@idc.com.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global market intelligence and advisory firm in the information technology and telecommunications industries. We analyze and predict technology trends so that our clients can make strategic, fact-based decisions on IT purchases and business strategy. Over 700 IDC analysts in 50 countries provide local expertise and insights on technology markets. Business executives and IT managers have relied for 40 years on our advice to make decisions that contribute to the success of their organizations.

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. Additional information can be found at http://www.idc.com.

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