UK businesses are primarily concerned with SaaS and cloud computing with 31% saying it is driving increased use of data centre capacity, according to a national survey commissioned by Telehouse of over 100 senior IT professionals.

With Gartner forecasting that the cloud computing market could reach a global value of $150 billion by 2013, it is unsurprising that 83% of respondents predict that their data centre requirement will also grow in the next three years. Looking further ahead, over 80% of respondents thought that securing access to additional data centre capacity would be either ‘critical’ or ‘important’ in the next five years.

Only 4% said governance is driving increased use of data centre capacity in their organisation, suggesting that some businesses may potentially be overlooking the data demands of governance. Currently, businesses are required to retain a vast amount of electronic data for possible government inspection. Key regulatory legislation affecting UK businesses include Basle II and MiFID in banking, HIPAA for the pharmaceutical industry or Sarbanes-Oxley for companies with a U.S. footprint.

According to a study by IDC Research, email and electronic documents, which now have to be retained legally, are a primary factor for the increase in the amount of information stored on servers. In fact, the BroadGroup estimate that storage of this data typically represents 20 – 30% of a data centre’s footprint. If organisations underestimate this, UK businesses could be fast be approaching a tipping point where the requirement to store data far exceeds their current data storage infrastructure.

The results of the survey indicate that demand for data centre capacity will continue to increase over the next five years, fuelled by SaaS and cloud computing, but we should not underestimate the future impact of governance and the pressure it will put on capacity, too.