CIOs and IT directors expect spending on staff in their datacentres to dramatically outstrip the overall growth in IT expenditure this year, according to analyst group IDC.

Despite the credit crisis, large European organisations still expect staff spending to increase by 10 per cent over the next year. This is nine-times IDC’s predicted growth in IT spending in 2010.

Virtualisation and automation have created considerable efficiencies in the datacentre, but also brought new problems, according to IDC. In new research, 'Improving Management of the Datacentre: IDC European Datacentre Management Survey 2010', the analyst house highlighted a number of issues driving increased spending.

Some 25 per cent of organisations are still managing their servers and storage manually, driving up costs when compared with organisations that are using some tools. Only 14 per cent of organisations have a fully integrated management framework.

Only 30 per cent of companies see datacentre operational cost as a priority, with 25 per cent concerned specifically about software license costs.

End users have divergent approaches to datacentre management, IDC noted. Some 58 per cent are looking for modular solutions and 42 per cent prefer an integrated approach. Suppliers need to package their approach to meet these different needs, it said.

Virtualisation has changed the nature of datacentre management. IDC found the prime concern was to integrate server, storage, and network management, cited by 31 per cent of respondents.

However, there are many complexities; for example, larger datacentres are more concerned with unifying their physical and virtual management and smaller sites are finding integrating different virtualisation technologies into a single management strategy to be essential.

Giorgio Nebuloni, Research Analyst in IDC's Systems and Infrastructure group added: "CIOs are grappling with the consequences of virtualisation. While the benefits are clear, the impact on management is proving to be a challenge, new models for management will be needed to ensure that virtualisation continues to contribute positively to the datacentre."

The market for virtualisation management products is “wide open” according to IDC, with 52 percent of organisations relying on their virtualisation provider, 32 percent using their systems vendor to manage their virtual environment, and 16 percent looking at management suite suppliers.

Datacentre automation is of growing importance with 69 percent saying it is necessary to improve alignment with business goals. Automation is driven primarily by cost with improving security by reducing errors, the second most common driver for datacentre automation.

Commenting on the findings, Nathaniel Martinez, programme director in IDC's Systems and Infrastructure group said: "Datacentre managers are much more concerned with finding suppliers that can address the security and availability problems they are experiencing than with ensuring that their datacentre meets the requirements of their business.

“IDC believes that CIOs need to both reduce their operational cost in the datacentre and, importantly, show a stronger plan for how investment in the datacentre contributes to business success."

Jon Gasparini, principal consultant at Morse, said: “Undertaking an enterprise wide automation project can be daunting and time consuming. Companies need to realise that it doesn't have to be all or nothing; it's possible and often preferable to take a step-by-step approach to data centre automation.

“Companies should be deciding the management tasks that are the biggest drain on their time and looking to automate these first. By doing this they'll be able to pay back the cost of automation within months."