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Virtualization, cloud drive data center changes

Even though the total number of data centers in the United States has been declining since the economic crisis first impacted the private sector in 2008 and 2009, the capacity within these environments has steadily been on the rise, according to a new report by IDC.

The research firm said there are many contributors to this trend, including the growing use of communication and business devices, the digitization of big data and the the increasing demand to capture and leverage large amounts of information. As a result of these occurrences, managers are changing their approach to the data center by using cloud services, virtualization and other next-generation technologies.

"CIOs are increasingly being asked to improve business agility while reducing the cost of doing business through aggressive use of technologies in the data center," said Rick Villars, vice president of data center and cloud research at IDC. "At the same time, they have to ensure the integrity of the business and its information assets in the face of natural disasters, data center disruptions or local system failures."

Data center technologies drive innovation
While cloud computing is having a significant impact on the transforming data center, server virtualization is actually the most notable factor driving change within the environments, IDC noted. This technology enables decision-makers to consolidate servers and eliminate the need for smaller data centers, as operations can be migrated to larger, centralized locations. Virtualization also provides significant reductions in energy and power consumption, helping companies maintain financial stability in an otherwise turbulent economy.

A separate report by InfoWorld said server virtualization technologies can assist an organization's effort to go green and reduce its carbon footprint. Virtualization also helps companies remain efficient in the wake of a disaster by having faster uptime than traditional solutions. As a result, organizations with data centers of all sizes will be able to maintain operations during emergencies, enabling better decision making and overall efficiency.

Nevertheless, the total number of data centers in the United States is forecast to drop to slightly less than 2.89 million in 2016, down from 2.94 million this year, according to IDC.

As this trend continues to occur in the coming years, decision-makers need to consider leveraging advanced solutions capable of enhancing productivity without driving costs or sacrificing the availability of mission-critical resources.

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