A survey by the Aperture Research Institute has revealed that almost half of organizations (49 percent) are not able to track changes across physical aspects of their data center including space, power and cooling; and less than one third (29 percent) have implemented ITIL.

The study researched 100 data center organizations across a range of industries including banking, government, insurance, healthcare, data services, retail and telecommunications.

The survey found that organizations are not adequately documenting the physical layer of the data center. More than half (54 percent) of respondents have experienced between one and five outages at the physical level. 64 percent struggled with the quality of configuration information, describing it as average to fair, with a further 5 percent admitting configuration of information was poor.

Compounding these concerns is the fact that those surveyed lacked confidence in the accuracy of the data in their configuration information. Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of those surveyed thought that more than 10 percent of their information was incorrect. Only 38 percent of data center managers believe their configuration information is over 90 percent accurate. As many as 8 percent confessed that they can't trust half of their configuration information.

Slow implementation of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is one reason for inaccurate data. Data center managers admitted to using between three to five different systems to store configuration information, making it difficult to aggregate information onto a single view. Only 6 percent of data center managers surveyed use a single system to document everything. Only 29 percent of data center managers surveyed said their organizations had ITIL initiatives in place.

ITIL is a framework of best practice approaches intended to facilitate the delivery of high quality information technology services. ITIL provides high-level guidance on how to align the IT organization with the business objectives, and how to establish management processes across the IT organization that support networks, systems, applications and databases. The ITIL framework is vendor-independent and has been developed to provide guidance across industries.

"At a time when high-density equipment is becoming widespread, the availability of power and cooling information in the data center dictates its absolute limits on capacity. Without reliable configuration information, data centers are increasing the risk of power outages and bad capacity planning," said Steve Yellen, principal of the Aperture Research Institute. "The disparity between IT and data center facilities in implementing good ITIL practices, has created a situation where high density equipment is not being managed to appropriate standards. If this continues the number of disruptions in service will increase and costs will continue to rise."