data_centerEnterprises are experiencing rapid growth in the data they can access and store, which is having a profound impact on how they invest in data centers. Therefore, in January 2014 Digital Realty commissioned Forrester Consulting to survey enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region about the drivers, priorities, and barriers behind their data center investment. The study surveyed 267 IT decision-makers from multinational corporations (MNCs) with presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Forrester’s study yielded three key findings:

  • Optimization and consolidation are key drivers for acquiring new data center capacity: 47% of respondents cited virtualization as the biggest driver for seeking more data center capacity, as it requires significantly higher power densities and low-latency, as well as high-capacity network infrastructure. Big data was the second most popular reason for expanding data center capacity, followed by consolidation and business growth.
  • Customers prioritize the data center’s risk profile, resilience, and level of control when evaluating future capacity: In the Asia-Pacific region, firms rated the risk profile of the data center location, followed by the data center’s resilience and availability, as the most important factors when making decisions about acquiring new data center capacity. However, in the mature Australian market, firms cited network connectivity as the main priority guiding their decision.
  • Singapore and Japan will lead data center outsourcing in the Asia-Pacific region: Firms in the Asia-Pacific region increasingly want to outsource or co-locate their data centers. In Singapore, 78% of respondents have plans to outsource their data centers, compared with 51% in Australia, where customers have already made significant investments in building their own data centers.

Companies increasingly use digital platforms to win, serve, and retain customers, Forrester claims. Customers, employees, business units, and partners already expect their IT environments to be seamlessly available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

More importantly, these stakeholders expect applications to perform consistently within a secured computing environment, regardless of their geographical location when accessing the service.

Forrester’s study found that:

  • Demand continues to grow: 59% of firms expect their data center spending to grow in the next 12 months, and this trend will continue in 2015. Companies expect their data center spending to stabilize in 2016–17 as they fully outsource their data center services and use hybrid environments to support demands associated with business growth. Growth will be the fastest in Australia and Singapore.
  • Firms are optimizing and consolidating their technology infrastructure to support new technology initiatives: Business growth, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as the need for better business continuity and disaster recovery, are driving a strong growth in storage and computing environments. 47% of respondents rated virtualization as the top reason for growth in data center capacity. In Japan, 62% respondents said data center budgets will remain flat in 2014, so it’s not surprising that among the Asia-Pacific firms surveyed, Japanese businesses also rated highest in deploying consolidation and virtualization initiatives.
  • Asia-Pacific firms will source their IT infrastructure within hybrid environments: Firms will use a mix of private and public cloud services to meet business demands, including the need for IT infrastructure that is always on and can be instantly provisioned, as well as secure computing environments and consistent application performance. 78% of respondents in Singapore and 69% of those in Japan want to outsource their IT in some capacity, by co-locating, fully outsourcing, or using infrastructure-as-a - service (IaaS) or managed services.

Security concerns and the need for control may keep many facilities on-premises, but that isn’t necessarily the best solution.

Asia-Pacific firms are most concerned about risk profile and resilience when selecting data centers: 75% of respondents rated the level of control over their data center facility as an “important” or “very important” evaluation. With this in mind, it is not surprising that 38% of firms plan to locate their next data center within 100 miles of their headquarters.

Forrester found that:

  • Firms that have outsourced their data centers have significantly improved the physical security of the data center. Global enterprises with regional headquarters have made use of remote infrastructure management capabilities that allow them to handle most tasks from remote offices. These firms use vendors to support specific tasks such as on-site equipment replacement or ejecting and inserting tape for off-site archival.
  • In mature markets such as the US and Australia, firms prioritize network capabilities to support future business growth. Networks must be transformed so they can support new features, including digital platforms, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, big data, and the Internet of Things, and the associated growth in data and storage needs. It is the right time for firms to provision low-latency, high-speed connections between their data centers.
  • Decision-makers are very aware of cost-related factors. Despite this, nearly 31% of firms in the region said that power usage effectiveness (PUE) is not important to them or they are not familiar with it. With growing awareness and regulation of carbon footprint reduction, and increasing power tariffs, firms will need to look to partners that can manage data center infrastructure in the most optimal manner.

Source: Forrester Research