IT and Cloud professionals’ pursuit of data centre efficiency – report

Mainframe server

New research revealed that key IT and Cloud professionals rate network efficiency as the number one priority for optimising data centre performance.

The report, conducted by Futuriom, spanning medium to large enterprises across China, the USA and UK provided an analysis of how today’s data centre professionals are addressing the challenge of supporting high-power applications across public, private and hybrid clouds.

The study also revealed that there is high interest in software-defined virtualisation and network optimisation strategies.

It shows that processor offload and SmartNICs are now the favoured solution for improving data centre performance according to findings, and the deployment of more servers were least favoured.

“If you want to cut through hype and rumour to find out what is really happening, you ask the people at the coal face” says Kevin Deierling, VP of Marketing, Mellanox Technologies, sponsors of the research study.

“Over 200 director level or higher data centre professionals – from US, UK and China-based cloud, telecommunications and enterprise IT – were screened by country and company size by analyst firm, Futuriom, to dig deeper into actual working practice and the key trends.

“There was a lot of interest in SmartNICs – a bare 10% did not know what they were. Their applications included improving the efficiency of VMs and/or containers (56%), virtualising and sharing flash storage more efficiently (55%), isolating and stopping security threats (47%), accelerating hyperconverged infrastructure (50%), and enabling SDN (54%).”

Above all, the research concluded that the network, a key engine of performance to the cloud, needs specific adaptations to keep up with data centres that have desires to be cloud-scale.

The research also revealed that network optimisation technologies are a key way to improve data centre performance.

Prospective benefits in upgrading the network include faster application performance (64%), stronger security (59%), greater flexibility (57%), and application reliability (57%); and that 84% of respondents thought network infrastructure was either “very important” or “important” to delivering AI and ML.     

“The data centre is being reinvented, and it’s a real challenge to build a cloud infrastructure that can scale to support demanding applications that can embrace big data, analytics, self-driving cars, and artificial intelligence,” said Scott Raynovich, Chief Analyst at Futuriom.

“The very techniques developed by hyper-scale cloud giants are now migrating to the enterprise, where distributed applications now rule. There’s more pressure than ever for networks to perform, and new technologies are beginning to be deployed to make sure that networks don’t become the bottleneck for the cloud. This report provides the most detailed insight into why this matters, and how key players are re-shaping the road map.”

The US, UK and China were selected in order to gather a diverse global outlook from three regions.