Research recently released from Oracle reveals many businesses are lagging behind in their use of innovative technology in data centres, which means they are unable to meet industry demands and respond to change quickly.

The research forms the basis of the Oracle Next Generation Data Centre Index, a figure on a scale from 0 to 10 which provides a snapshot of the progress of organisations in evolving their data centres through the adoption of today’s sophisticated technologies.
On average, organisations scored 5.28 out of 10 (where 10 would be the most sophisticated data centre strategy possible). The scale maps organisations’ performance across three sub-categories – flexibility, sustainability and supportability. This figure underlines that many businesses are failing to gain business value from their IT.
The research also highlights the significant issues with complex inefficient infrastructures leading to 50% of businesses requiring a new data centre within the next two years.
The research, conducted by Quorcirca, surveyed 919 managers in large organisations in nine regions across the world.
Index highlights were as follows:
* DCH (Germany and Switzerland) led the table with a Next Generation Data Centre Index (NGDI) of 6.09, followed by Nordics (5.95) and Benelux (5.64).
* Lagging behind the average of 5.28 were Iberia (4.73), Italy (4.50) and the Middle East (4.41).
* Europe lags behind the USA (scores of 5.32 and 5.79 respectively).
* The sub-indices show that flexibility is preferred to sustainability – the flexiblity sub-index was 5.34, the sustainability sub-index just 5.15.
* In addition to gaining the top two spots in the NGDI, DCH and the Nordics also led the board in the sustainability and supportability index.
* Telecommunications, utilities and financial services companies had the highest overall index figures (6.55, 5.91 and 5.80 respectively), whilst media, public sector and, perhaps surprisingly, retail organisations had the lowest (4.78, 4.44 and 4.43).
Nearly a quarter (22%) of Europe and the USA’s organisations have still made no progress towards consolidation. Virtualisation is still in its early stages, with only 15% having more than 70% of their runtime estate virtualised.
More than 50% of respondents stated that they will need a new data centre within the next two years, and approximately 1 in 14 (7%) already need a new data centre.
A fifth (20%) of respondents have very little formal mechanism of systems management in place, 20% manage on a per application basis and nearly a quarter (24%) manage on a per operating system basis. Worryingly, only 11% actively monitor the data centre’s usage to fully understand how energy is being used. Lip service is being paid to sustainability: nearly half (44%) of the businesses questioned have a sustainability statement but no plans to support it.
“While there are clear leaders, innovators and evidence of an understanding of technology benefits, overall organisations are still missing tricks and failing to return proper business value from their IT,” says Dermot O’Kelly, senior VP, EMEA hardware sales, Oracle.
“Most enterprises have an IT architecture that is hugely complex, expensive to manage and difficult and costly to scale, all of which can prevent IT from returning value to the business. Without change, many organisations will continue to lack the agility to enable them to respond quickly to business need. Our research shows that there is still much work to be done.”
“The research shows that over half of respondents will be putting in place new data centre facilities in the next two years – as an internal facility, through private external facilities such as co-location or through the use of cloud based services,” says Clive Longbottom, research director at Quocirca.
“The stated primary reason is around IT estate consolidation – but business support comes a strong second. Data centre investments tend to be large, and need to be viewed long term from a business viewpoint.
"It is essential that these organisations make sure that their next generation of data centres are fit not only for immediate purpose, but have the flexibility to provide long-term support for the business dependent on the IT platform.”