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New technologies and applications surrounding cloud computing, social media, mobile computing and other trends are driving the demand for compute capacity. In turn, those demands have affected IT data center strategies and purchasing decisions.

The TechTarget Data Center & Reader's Choice 2013 survey honed in on those and other technologies to gauge our readers' interests and strategies for the year ahead.

The survey, conducted in spring 2013, received 1,155 responses from our IT readership, including enterprise IT administrators, IT managers, directors, IT consultants and others.

IT purchasing policy

Many respondents expected the slowly recovering macro-economic climate would cause enterprises to take a conservative approach to spending. However, the survey results show enterprises still spend their IT budgets in areas that deem necessary.

Indeed, 24.6% of 1,155 respondents said they did not foresee any changes in their IT data center budget this year, while 19.3% of respondents said their data center budget would increase by 5% to 10%. Over 16% of respondents said they would increase their data center budget by more than 10%.

In comparison, last year's survey results showed 21.3% of the 656 respondents expected no change in IT spending; 22.4% said they would increase their data center budget by 5% to 10%; and 27.3% saw their data center budget increasing by more than 10%.

Servers

Though Gartner Inc. reports that worldwide blade server shipments were down 5.9% and x86 shipments were flat in the first quarter of 2013, TechTarget readers said they will increase blade server adoption this year.

The Data Center and Readers Choice 2013 survey revealed 21.4% of the 1,155 respondents plan to purchase more blade servers this year compared to 2012, while 23.6% said they intended to purchase about the same amount of blade servers this year. Among the 701 respondents who answered that question, over 40% said Hewlett-Packard is the primary blade server vendor.

In the data center, nearly 72% of 1,155 respondents said they have up to 100 physical servers in the facility; almost 15% have 101 to 500 servers in their data center.

Results showed that 32.4% of all respondents said the most common class or type of server was a 2U rack server.

Windows Server 2008 R2 was the most popular server operating system among the 708 survey respondents who answered the question. Windows Server 2008 R2 came in at 82.5%, Windows Server 2003 at 57.5%, Windows Server 2008 at 42.7%, and Windows Server 2012 at 40.1%. Red Hat Enterprise Linux garnered 36.9%, while 18% of companies run Solaris in their data centers, and 14.1% run Oracle Enterprise Linux. (Respondents were allowed to select more than one server operating system in their environment.)

Virtualization

Server virtualization continues to be a big part of data center strategies. Over the next 12 months, a whopping 78.5% of 739 respondents said they plan to expand their server virtualization deployments.

VMware Inc. continued to reign as king among the leading virtualization vendors, with 47.6% of the 714 respondents noting that VMware ESXi 5 or later was their primary virtualization product or component. In comparison, Microsoft's Hyper-V (2.0) R2 was at 11.2%, and Hyper-V 3.0 was at 7.3%.

Despite the moderate economic rebound, enterprises continue to be conservative, with 32.2% of 714 respondents noting their virtualization budget will stay the same in the next year.

Cloud computing

The cloud continues to make inroads into businesses with its ability to provide data access to employees anytime, anywhere.

Among 625 respondents, 20.2% said they have implemented a private cloud, 13.1% said they implemented a hybrid cloud, and only 5.3% said they used a public cloud. Among 335 respondents, over 85.5% said they would assemble their own private cloud, and the remaining 14.5% said they would use a dedicated system for their private cloud.

The 197 respondents who said they aren't considering or using cloud technology in their business voiced a number of concerns. Security was the most important consideration among 37.1% of respondents, followed by 26.4%, who said their enterprise business applications or utilities did not translate well into the cloud, and nearly 24% of respondents who noted their organization did not measure or chargeback for computing resources.

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