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  • 14 July 2011 15:22

Frost & Sullivan Study Says Data Centre Security Should Be Considered An Investment, Not a Cost

Security, virtualisation and storage are the top issues facing data centre managers

Sydney, 14 July 2011 - High profile hacking incidents and data breaches along with newer trends such as enterprise mobility and social media have helped to make security the number one data centre management issue for more than half of Australia's IT decision makers. Other significant operational challenges include the need to manage heterogeneous virtualisation and storage platforms while grappling with a lack of portability and unified management tools, and capacity planning without being able to accurately estimate demand.

Even though security leads the list of data centre concerns many organisations are failing to make adequate investments in people, processes and technology to redress the issue due to the view of security as a cost rather than an investment. These are among the major findings in the latest report by Frost & Sullivan, “Cloud Computing Research: 2011, A Strategic Analysis of the Australian Data Centre Infrastructure and Services Market”.

Australia's data centre landscape

Data centres in Australia fall into two categories: captive centres which are built, operated and managed to meet internal organisational requirements, and outsourced or hosted centres whereby organisations lease space and co-location services such as cages, racks and basic network connectivity from data centre providers. In the outsourced model the data centre provider is also responsible for meeting the security, power and cooling needs of the centre, and customers can use the space to deploy their own servers.

Frost & Sullivan found that 27% of all organisations have outsourced hosting of their data centre infrastructure to third party service providers. Arun Chandrasekaran, Research Director, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan stated that adoption rates differ according to the size of organisation, with mid-market companies showing a lower adoption rate of 18%. “This compares to one third of large enterprises that say they are using hosted facilities due to reasons such as high availability, cost advantages and robust disaster recovery”, he explained.

Server and storage virtualisation is the primary data centre investment priority for organisations right now but adoption of server virtualisation remains slow and steady.

Another area of gradual change within the data centre is that of cloud computing. The Australian market continues to lead the adoption of cloud computing in Asia Pacific with 43% of enterprises using cloud computing in one form or another. “41% of IT decision makers believe that cloud computing is a top priority for them in the current financial year”, elaborated Chandrasekaran.

To date public cloud services have experienced the highest adoption rates, however private clouds are gaining in popularity due to their ability to combine the virtualisation, automation and pay-as-you-go benefits of public clouds and the enterprise-grade requirements for security, reliability and service level agreements. The study notes that increased server virtualisation and investment in network security will help to underpin additional adoption of private cloud environments.

The year ahead

Storage, servers and virtualisation are the areas where most customers will increase their spending in the current financial year. Demand for storage is being driven by the increasing amount of data, rich media and compliance considerations that mandate storage of data such as customer records for longer periods of time.

Expenditure on servers will be driven by the need to accommodate rich media as well as by the trend for data centre consolidation which is resulting in workloads moving from head offices and branches to the data centre.

The increase in virtualisation investment is expected to grow out of the continuing shift towards server virtualisation in the data centre plus through the emergence of virtual desktops that will solve many organisational challenges relating to security, control and mobility.

Organisations that outsource their data centre requirements will gravitate towards providers that can offer the latest cooling techniques, stringent security controls and power specifications capable of supporting the latest generation of high-performance computers such as blade servers.

Chandrasekaran says, “The data centre market is evolving and we expect to see some shrinkage in the number of low-end outsourced service providers over the next few years as companies turn towards utility-priced, scalable managed hosting and cloud services that require a lower investment in equipment and personnel. At the other end of the market however, demand for secure, latency-sensitive infrastructure should ensure solid growth for high-end co-location providers.”

Frost & Sullivan's Cloud Computing Research: 2011, A Strategic Analysis of the Australian Data Centre Infrastructure and Services Market forms part of the Frost & Sullivan Australian Cloud Computing Research program. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.

About Frost & Sullivan

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