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The data center purchasing intentions survey report

The Data Center Decisions 2008 Purchasing Intentions Survey outlines trends in server and software purchasing, data center infrastructure and more. This year's survey also includes salary and career info.

Data center purchasing intentions survey report

The Data Center Decisions 2008 Purchasing Intentions outlines trends in server and software purchasing, data center infrastructure and more. This year's survey also includes salary and career information as well. For findings and analysis on data center spending and technology adoption trends, see the contents of this special report below.

1. The data center purchasing intentions survey report: An overview
II. 2008 server trends
III. 2008 virtualization trends
IV. 2008 systems management software trends
V. 2008 data center facilities trends
VI. 2008 Linux trends
VII. 2008 salary and careers

The data center purchasing intentions survey report: An overview
By Matt Stansberry, Senior Site Editor, SearchDataCenter.com

The results are in from SearchDataCenter.com's second annual data center purchasing intentions survey. Despite a shaky economy, IT budgets are projected to grow 5.12% -- an increase over  respondents' budgets in 2007.

So where is this money being spent? Primarily on Intel-based servers, VMware ESX virtualization, configuration management database (CMDB) software and data center power bills.

In addition to purchasing trends, this year we tracked salary and hiring data. For some data center pros, virtualization skills and saving the company money have paid off. But many respondents said that IT certifications aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

2008 server trends
The broadest server trends aren't surprising. HP is still the favorite x86 server vendor, a good portion of data centers still favor rack servers over blade servers, and the vast majority use Microsoft Windows as their primary operating system. But we did notice an increase in large symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) servers, probably driven by the expanding use of data center virtualization. For full details on the server results, read "Server purchasing decisions in 2008."

2008 virtualization trends
Server virtualization has expanded in data centers: 61% of the respondents have already implemented the technology. The majority run some version of VMware -- primarily ESX 3.5. End users are frustrated by a laundry list of systems management challenges associated with server virtualization, but spending on third-party virtual machine-focused systems management tools remains tepid. For all the details on virtualization in data centers, "Virtualization goes mainstream, warts and all."

2008 systems management software trends
Data center pros are still skeptical about spending big bucks on systems management tools. Nonetheless, in 2008, users reported a large increase in configuration management database (CMDB) implementation. Observers said that this increase in CMDB implementations will lead to more mature IT management strategies and, ultimately, IT process automation. For full details on systems management results, read "CMDBs gain favor in data center budgets."

2008 data center facilities trends
Data centers now spend more than ever on electricity. Companies have tried to go green and invest in new methods to save energy. But more than one-third of respondents said they didn't know how their 2008 power bills compared with their 2007 power bills. The majority of respondents said that energy efficiency is a priority, but many respondents are in the dark about the operating expenses in their data centers. This indicates increased awareness, but also a lack of metrics for measuring IT energy consumption. For full details on data center facilities and power consumption, read "Data center energy a concern, but metrics lacking."

2008 Linux trends
According to the survey, a large percentage of enterprise data centers use Red Hat Enterprise Linux (48%) or Novell SUSE (21%, multiple versions). 47% of respondents said they would use or evaluate Linux in the coming year, with lower cost as the primary driver. When asked about Linux migration, 23% said that whenever possible they would migrate from Windows to Linux, and another 16% said that to avoid a Windows upgrade, they would migrate to Linux. For full details, read "Is Linux growing at Windows' or Unix's expense?"

Data center salary and career trends
This year we asked survey respondents a series of questions regarding salary and hiring. The majority of respondents (54%) reported earnings of between $50,000 and $100,000. Only 19% reported earnings of less than $50,000, and 27% claimed earnings of more $100,000.

Despite the weak economy, 38% of data center pros expect a raise this year. 28% of respondents expect a raise and a bonus. 11% expect a bonus only. Sadly, 23% expect neither.

What's driving up data center salaries? The majority of respondents attributed raises to annual incremental growth -- but the top reasons for rewarded performance were the following:

  • completion of a data center migration project;
  • familiarity with virtualization technologies;
  • data center consolidation projects; and
  • achieving data center energy savings.

Regard for IT certifications has taken a nosedive -- 80% of respondents said IT certifications had no impact on their hiring, promotion or salary in the past year.

According to research from Foote Partners LLC, an IT job research firm, the pay for noncertified IT skills now averages more than pay for IT certifications.

"By now everybody has heard that demand for certifications by IT managers has softened considerably. The exceptions have been a selection of security, networking, systems and database certifications, plus a few in the architecture and project management areas that are showing solid pay growth numbers," said David Foote, the CEO of Foote Partners.

According to Foote, the problem with IT certification is that IT has become less technical. The role of IT has gotten much closer to the customers and lines of business. "It's not just about technical skills but about being able to apply them to talk to customers. Companies want more industry experience and understanding of the business process."

One of the exceptions has been in the area of virtualization. "People that were smart in 2004 saw virtualization coming. Today everybody wants employees with three to four years of virtualization experience," Foote said. "Certifications can be valuable, but you've got to combine them with a judgment of the market. What's going to be important in three to five years?"

Between June and August of 2008, SearchDataCenter.com conducted the Data Center Decisions 2008 Purchasing Intentions Survey. Subscribers were contacted by email and invited to participate. For this survey, we had a total of 670 respondents. More than 12% of respondents identify themselves as IT execs (VP, CTO, CIO), 27% as IT managers. Nearly 30% work for companies with more than $1 billion in revenue and more than 10,000 employees. Among respondents, 73% work in a central data center, and 13% manage more than 1,000 servers. Thank you to everyone who participated in this survey.

Matt Stansberry is Senior Site Editor of SearchDataCenter.com. Let us know what you think about the data center purchasing survey; email Matt Stansberry .

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