Exclusive Data Center Research: The Vendors and Technologies That Are Winning

A survey of IT professionals reveals which companies and technologies are most actively shaping today's data centers.
Posted January 2, 2014

Paul Shread

New research from QuinStreet Enterprise reveals some surprising winners in the market for next-generation data center technologies.

Consider IT vendors, for example. Amazon, IBM and Dell top the list of vendors being evaluated by enterprises for next-generation data center solutions, with about one in five respondents looking at them in early stage evaluation (see graphic below).

Yet when it comes time to ask for RFPs, NetApp tops the list, with 12% of respondents saying they plan to ask NetApp for an RFP, just ahead of IBM, Amazon, VMware, Juniper, HP, Cisco and Oracle. Large established vendors seem to fare best for SDN and converged infrastructure deployments, according to the report, 2014 Data Center Outlook: Data Center Transformation — Where Is Your Enterprise?

data center brand

Despite the tepid IT spending environment, the survey found that 88% of enterprises are investing in their data centers. What factors are prompting them to invest? Security, uptime and availability top the list of reasons, with greater efficiency, cost savings and business agility as less important considerations.

As for which technologies enterprises are spending money on now and in the near future, virtualization – both server and storage – is the most mature technology (see below). About 58% of respondents have deployed server virtualization or plan to in the next year. For storage virtualization, the number is 48%.

Energy-efficient hardware comes next at 45%, followed by a cloud delivery model at 38%, converged infrastructure, big data analytics at 35%, software-defined networking at 29%, and flash-accelerated servers at 27%.

The technologies that enterprises are considering deploying in the future – and therefore might have the most growth potential – are flash, converged infrastructure, energy-efficient hardware, big data analytics and cloud, with server virtualization lagging.

At the same time, nearly 40% of enterprises have no plans at all to deploy SDN and flash, so those technologies still face something of a battle for data center mind share.

data center technology

When it comes time to select vendors for RFPs, customer service and ease of doing business trump other concerns, the survey found, with TCO concerns in third place and having a well-known brand considered the least important factor.

Storage technologies got quite a bit of attention in the survey, with deduplication the most mature technology, while scale-out storage, cloud gateways and flash still have significant market potential (see below).

storage technologies

And last but not least, when asked which information sources are most important, IT buyers placed tech content sites like the one you're reading first, ahead of even peer networking and colleague recommendations.

The survey was conducted online by QuinStreet Enterprise Research using an email invitation sent to IT professionals and executives in the QuinStreet Enterprise database. All respondents were involved in the IT purchasing process for data center hardware, software and networking products. The survey was completed by 321 qualified professionals in July and August, with a margin of error of +/- 5.7%.

The full report – 2014 Data Center Outlook: Data Center Transformation — Where Is Your Enterprise? – is available here.

Paul Shread is editor in chief of QuinStreet Enterprise's IT Business Edge Network.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Tags: cloud computing, virtualization, data center, uptime, Security Essentials, Converged Infrastructure, IT research, SDN, availability

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