IT budgets across the globe have felt the squeeze of the recent recession, with administrators struggling to meet their companies’ technology needs with fewer dollars and people. However, a new survey by the Uptime Institute, a division of research firm The 451 Group, reveals a bright spot amidst that financial wasteland: data centers. For its second annual data center survey, the firm queried some 2,000 company owners, IT vendors, consultants, and users from around the globe. Its eventual report focused in particular on 1,100 “owners and operators” from that survey group. The results? Around 55 percent of organizations reported a data center budget increase in 2012. That’s a slight uptick from 2011, when 52 percent of respondents reported a rise in their data-center budget over 2010. Indeed, the financial crises of the past few years seem to have wreaked little havoc on data-center spending as a whole, with 80 percent of respondents reporting either the building of a new data center or the upgrading of an existing one within the past five years. “Among many interesting upward trends, we continue to see an increase in data center budgets, which is a pleasant surprise as many budgets in the IT sector are on the decline,” Matt Stansberry, Uptime Institute Director of Content and Publications, wrote in a July 11 statement. “Our sample base represents many of the top data center owners and operators across the globe.” The surveyed organizations also confessed a particular interest in the cloud: around 50 percent had deployed a private cloud, while 25 percent relied in some way on a public cloud for services. That growth in cloud use might reflect an overall need for data-center capacity: some 30 percent of respondents said they would run out of capacity at one of their data sites in 2012, despite the rise in budgets and construction. Between 2011 and 2012, the number of respondents indicating they would build a new data-center dipped by 10 percent; over the same period, the number saying they planned to push workloads to the cloud increased by 10 percent. If you take these numbers and percentages at face value, they can serve as a note of optimism for anyone whose business involves provisioning, designing, building, or maintaining data centers. There’s also some good news for those IT vendors offering cloud services. But that good news notwithstanding, IT budgets do remain tight for a sizable percentage of companies out there.   Image: .shock/Shutterstock