It's not all doom and gloom in the IT industy. A survey of US execs reveals they're spending more on their data centres, although companies are still not curbing power use

On average, data centre budgets are increasing nearly 7 percent this year, according to an online survey of 300 senior-level IT decision makers at some of the largest North American companies.

More than four out of five companies surveyed are planning data centre expansions in the next 12 to 24 months. Space requirements for these data centres are growing 16 percent year over year, to an average of 21,000 square feet in 2009.

"One finding that may surprise people is that companies are increasing their data centre budgets in 2009. This is a reflection of how companies view their data centers as critical assets for increasing productivity while reducing costs," Chris Crosby, a senior vice president at Digital Realty Trust,. Digital Realty Trust, which offers a variety of data centreproducts and services, conducted the survey in January.

The survey comes on the heels of a study by the AFCOM Data Center Institute, which found a bleaker picture. AFCOM said budget cuts are forcing IT departments to shed older, more experienced workers, and that many data centres are delaying or cancelling planned physical expansions and relocations.
Specific findings from Digital Realty Trust include the following:

  • 84 percent of surveyed companies are planning data centre expansions in the next 12 to 24 months
  • 64 percent of companies that plan to expand in 2009 will do so in two or more locations;
  • Surveyed companies plan to increase data centre spending 6.6 percent in 2009;
  • Data centres account for 35 percent of the average IT budget in surveyed companies.

Digital Realty Trust also surveyed companies about PUE - or power usage effectiveness, a Green Grid-devised measure that compares the total power used in a facility with the power devoted specifically to IT equipment. A PUE of 2.0 would indicate that for every watt of power consumed by servers and other IT equipment, an additional watt is needed to cool and distribute power to these IT resources. A PUE of 3.0 indicates that two additional watts are needed to cool and distribute power.

A large majority of companies surveyed were measuring power usage. Four out of five reported PUE ratings of at least 2.0, and 26 percent reported PUE ratings of at least 3.0.

"Current facilities are not highly energy efficient," the Digital Realty Trust concluded.