Lisa Rhodes, Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Verne Global (, says:

A new year tends to bring about reflections on the previous twelve months as well as anticipation for what lies ahead in the coming year. In this three part series on Data Center POST, we are going to take a deeper look at some of the trends we feel will shape the data center industry today and throughout 2011: business efficiencies, regulation, and security risk management.

Usually when one thinks of efficiencies in the data center power consumption and energy usage are the first things that spring to mind. While we certainly agree that these elements are critical factors facing the data center industry moving forward, there are other types of efficiencies that CIOs are starting to think of in terms of their data center needs. Society’s need for more computing power continues to grow. A recent report from IDC is forecasting that server revenue this year will grow by $7 billion due to a growth in cloud computing, mobile computing and the amount of data being generated. Because of this, the role the data center plays within a company’s overall business strategy will begin to have even greater emphasis. CIOs are facing the critical task of ensuring this need is balanced by sound business decisions. Savings for the business, improving business flow and conserving capital expenditures are suddenly at the forefront of the conversation and CIOs will be tapping into the necessary resources in order to generate revenue, cut down on overhead costs and search for a balance of capital control and flexibility in design. The role of CIO is evolving and the traditional ‘boardroom CIO’ is being re-defined so that now CIOs not only have to breakeven but present new revenue streams from the data the company already possesses. Integrating data center operations with other business processes is going to be a huge focus of CIOs and they will strive to improve their operational models in order to generate greater revenue and cut back on resources.

Hand in hand with saving is conserving capital expenditures. CIOs nowadays are savvy about retaining capital for critical business interests but also don’t want to get behind the innovation curve. In search for a balance of capital control and flexibility in design many CIOs are choosing outsourced solutions and learning to take a modular approach. Those that overbuilt a few years ago aren’t around anymore to tell their tale so tapping into resources that deploy quickly without stranding important capital resources is crucial because it helps prevent inefficiencies and overbuild.

In order to meet financial goals, companies often look for opportunities to reduce manual labor and the data center industry is no different. The last point, but certainly not the last step, in the conversation surrounding business efficiency is the creation of a production platform for deployment of company applications. Cutting out a layer of hands on the assembly line and keeping headcount down has become easier in recent years with advances in virtualization and cloud deployments. CIOs have excellent tools available to them that can be used to further business missions and can consider options such as outsourcing to meet their needs and bring the computing resources right to the fingertips of business strategists and integrators.

Is improving business efficiencies really all it takes though? The answer is no – but, it is a step in the right direction. Data center management must be incorporated into overall business missions and topics such as cost saving and business flow must be made a priority before true efficiency can be achieved. For example, recently there has been an organizational shift in data center management. Those working in facilities are now reporting to the CIO because of their more thorough understanding of the data center energy costs as well as facility inefficiencies, which ultimately, can better help save companies money. Once CIOs have this sorted out, they can focus on managing security risks as well as regulation. Stay tuned for series part 2 and 3.