UK datacentres are not ready for big data impact shows study

UK datacentres are not prepared for the changes that big data will bring, a study of 125 senior IT decision makers revealed

UK datacentres are unprepared for the massive changes that big data will bring to the enterprises and their IT facilities, a study of 125 senior IT decision makers by Research Now has revealed.

While IT executives are clear about the types of applications they will need to deploy to manage big data requirements in the next two years, they are not yet planning for the real increase in data volumes that these applications will need, the study further showed.

More than half (55%) of IT respondents said their organisations’ datacentre capacity requirements could increase. But many respondents admitted that the big data trend has not been taken into consideration when calculating these requirements showing the lack of preparedness, according to the Cable&Wireless Worldwide commissioned study.

“We have no real understanding of what social enterprise, multi-channel service and big data  mean in terms of data capacity, so they are not part of our concrete plans,” said the head of datacentres at a large food retailer.

Big data refers to the huge volumes of unstructured and semi-structured data a company creates. Managing such unstructured data is not useful from just a business point of view but also to ensure that the business is compliant with data protection regulations.

The few companies that have planned for the impact of big data on datacentres and are implementing applications to manage it said they expect capacity requirements to increase by 40-50%.

Data centre inefficiency and big data

Another area of little understanding is the strong link between a datacentre’s energy efficiency and operating costs, the study found.

The energy inefficiency of the existing UK datacentres mean that enterprises risk their energy costs spiralling out of control as they begin to feel the reality of big data, the study’s authors warned.

Energy costs account for around two-thirds of a datacentre’s operational costs. But only 14% of respondents said they reviewed their energy charges on a monthly basis and only 21% of datacentre managers said they were fully aware of what they spend on power and electricity. 

Only a small minority (11%) of UK datacentres are energy-efficient with a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.3 or less, according to the study.

“More and more businesses are trying to personalise customer services, content and advertising for their customers with the help of big data applications,” said Michelle Senecal de Fonseca, managing director of hosting at Cable&Wireless Worldwide.

“But, without an understanding of the impact of these emerging trends on infrastructure requirements and with little grasp of how much their data centre is costing them in power, organisations run a real risk of losing control of operational costs as they try to keep up with business objectives,” Senecal de Fonseca warned.

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