Survey Says: Reliability, application performance and security drive data center investments

IT decision-makers have named reliability, improved application performance and security as the three top drivers for data center (DC) investments, according to the IHS Markit Data Center Network Strategies North American Enterprise Survey.

In the survey, respondents rated factors that influenced their decision to invest in new data center technologies on a scale of one to seven, where one is not a driver and seven is a strong driver.

Reliability was ranked as a top investment driver, rated six or seven, by 78 percent of survey respondents. This high priority reflects the importance enterprises are placing on ensuring their networks run seamlessly. This issue is becoming more critical as workloads increase and the variety of applications expands, two factors that place greater strain on data-center infrastructure.

Improved application performance came in second, listed as a top investment priority by 76 percent of survey participants. Performance remains critical as enterprise users rely heavily on applications to be productive and drive success for the business.

Coming in third was security, with 75 percent of respondents naming it as a leading investment priority. It comes as no surprise that security ranks high, given the continual high-profile data thefts that dominate the headlines. Data centers are the first target for such hacking incidents because they are the easiest place to obtain the largest amount of information.

Data centers encounter everything from brute-force distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that can reach more than 1 trillion systems in a single incident to advanced threats and malware involving multiple vectors and social engineering.

Exhibit 1 DC investment driver

Data center growth expands

Confirming the results from last year’s survey, respondents indicated that the enterprise data center market remains in a growth phase as IT operations adopt cloud-based solutions.

“The transformation of the on-premises data center into a cloud architecture is continuing,” said Devan Adams, principal analyst at IHS Markit. “Enterprise data center deployments are increasing as they become highly prioritized while enterprises build their multi-clouds. Data center builds are expected to persist as cloud deployments increase and data center operators add higher speed equipment to their infrastructure.”

Respondents continue to invest in their data centers and are planning to expand the average number of data center sites by 29 percent over the next year. The expansion of data center sites can be attributed to several factors, including local government regulations, the increasing average number of servers deployed, and the rising total of edge data centers established to satisfy lower latency requirements.

[Exhibit 2 Data center (DC) sites

Final takeaways

The on-premises enterprise data center market continues to expand, as illustrated by the fact that this year’s survey respondents plan to increase their investment in data center physical infrastructure, i.e., servers and switches. They also intend to increase the number and size of their data center sites during the next year.

“This year’s survey respondents made it clear that the key drivers for their data center infrastructure investments are improving reliability, application performance and security,” Adams said. “As their needs evolve, these IT professionals will find it increasingly important to work with trusted vendors whose products and services advance with them.”

The average number of DC sites by respondents is expected to rise from 2018 to 2019, this is in direct alignment with the installed base who also plan to expand their Ethernet switch port installs.

IHS Markit Data Center Network Equipment Intelligence Service

The Data Center Network Strategies North American Enterprise Survey - 2018 is a vital deliverable within IHS Markit’s Data Center Networks Intelligence Service . The survey records and analyzes respondents’ feedback based on key market topics, including data center site deployments, investment drivers, spending plans, Ethernet switch port growth, orchestration software installments and Ethernet switch vendor leadership. Vendors ranked in the survey include Arista, Cisco, Dell, Edgecore, HPE-Aruba, Huawei, Juniper and Mellanox.

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