UPDATED 06:00 EDT / MAY 01 2017

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Despite cloud growth, the data center still dominates enterprise workloads

The trend toward cloud computing might dominate all the headlines in the tech media, but on-premises workloads are still all the rage among enterprises, according to a new survey by the Uptime Institute.

The advisory organization today published the results of its seventh annual Data Center Industry Survey, with the main finding being that although most companies have moved some workloads to the cloud, 65 percent of workloads continue to reside in enterprise-owned or -operated data centers. That figure has remained unchanged since 2014, suggesting that most enterprises continue to see on-premises data centers as an essential part of their digital strategies.

Supporting that conclusion is the finding that data center budgets remain strong at most organizations. Almost 75 percent of companies reported their budgets had “increased” or “stayed consistent” in 2017, compared with the previous year.

The survey also found that enterprise-owned and co-location data centers continue to house the bulk of companies’ information technology assets. Respondents reported that on average, around two-thirds of their IT assets are deployed in their own data centers, with 22 percent housed in co-location or multi-tenant data center providers, and just 13 percent in the cloud.


According to Matt Stansberry, senior director of content and publications at the Uptime Institute, the survey reflects a number of trends that, acting together, serve as a powerful catalyst for change in the data center.

“Increased performance at the processor level, further expansion of server virtualization, and the adoption of cloud computing have all created an IT foundation that differs greatly from those seen just five years ago,” Stansberry said. “Through this change, enterprise-owned data centers have remained a central component. We urge data center and IT professionals to focus on the business aspects of running their IT foundation, creating sets of repeatable processes to make it work efficiently and adopting new technologies and solutions when the business demands it.”

The survey also found that IT resilience is growing as a complement to redundancy. Sixty-eight percent of companies now rely on IT-based resilience, the survey found. Those companies typically use an IT architecture composed of multiple, geographically distributed data centers that allows them to rely on live application failover should an outage occur.


One possible reason for that trend is that companies are growing increasingly concerned about downtime. More than 90 percent of data center professionals said that senior management at their company is more worried about outages than a year ago.

The Uptime Institute quizzed more than 1,000 data center professionals and IT practitioners across the globe in early 2017 for its study.

Image: Justin Strachan/Flickr

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