Data Center Survey: Cyberterrorism, 'Green,' Storage All On The Rise

data center cyberterrorism mainframe

AFCOM members include 4,500 administrators from 3,900 data centers around the world, of which about 30 percent are from the facilities side and 70 percent from the IT side of the data center, said CEO Jill Eckhaus.

One of the key findings of the survey, which was conducted in July, was that 60.9 percent of data centers worldwide officially recognize cyberterrorism as a real threat but only about one-third of respondents included cyberterrorism in their disaster-recovery plans, Eckhaus said.

The result indicates a need to do more research in how to protect against cyberterrorism attacks, including how to react in case of a disaster resulting from such an attack, Eckhaus said.

"There has to be a separate disaster-recovery plan for cyberterrorism," she said. "If a data center goes down because of a hurricane, that's one thing. But if a cyberterrorist gets hold of secret information, that's another."

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Currently about one of every four data centers addresses cyberterrorism, and one in five has procedures in place to prevent an attack, Eckhaus said. However, more than 82 percent of data centers screen their employees, she said.

The second major finding of the survey is the shift in data centers away from mainframe computers and toward other types of servers, Eckhaus said.

Just less than 40 percent of data centers run two or more mainframes, with 45.7 percent of such data centers planning to replace at least one of their mainframes in the next year. However, Eckhaus said, 33 percent of those replacing mainframes plan to replace them with other types of servers, she said.

"While purchasing a new mainframe is expensive, over the long run it is cheaper than other types of servers," she said. "So it's interesting that mainframe use is falling given the state of the economy. I'm not saying the mainframe is dying, but I am saying that server technology is getting better, and data centers are buying other types of servers."

AFCOM also found that the greening of the data center, which is a way of describing the adoption of technology to cut power consumption and use more ecologically friendly technologies, is not something data center personnel are thinking about but instead is something they are actually adopting.

Eckhaus said that 71.3 percent of respondents are actually involved in some aspect of greening the data center. However, she said, this move is being driven at least in part by manufacturers and by government. "So everybody's involved in going green," she said.

The survey also found that 63 percent of data centers worldwide reported a dramatic increase in storage requirements, but only 8.3 percent of that upswing is related to increased government requirements, Eckhaus said.

"That's interesting because there are so many new government requirements related to data storage," she said. "But business requirements also including saving e-mails, wireless communications and so on."

The survey included 436 respondents from a total of 27 countries, of whom more than 83 percent were in the U.S., Eckhaus said. More than 84 percent of respondents were from private industry, while 8.1 percent were from government agencies and 7.4 percent from colleges or universities.