Data Center Managers Adopt Virtualization, Server Consolidation; Face Skills Shortage
Global 2000 Enterprises Spend More than $6.6 Billion Annually1 to Manage Data Center ComplexityTweet
-- Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced the findings of its worldwide State of the Data Center Research report, revealing that data center managers are implementing virtualization and server consolidation strategies to manage the growing complexities in today’s data center. Symantec’s report suggests data center managers are facing complicated challenges resulting from rapidly rising Service Level Agreements (SLAs), staffing difficulties, increasing expenditures and data center growth.
Pervasive Challenges: Service Level Agreements, Staffing and Growth
Research results suggest the primary challenges for data center managers are stringent internal service-level agreements, ongoing data center growth and staffing issues. Budget growth is not keeping pace with data center growth, while stringent SLAs mean data centers must deliver ever-increasing levels of speed, agility and availability. While increased SLAs may indicate the value IT can deliver to the business, if they are unmet the performance of the business may suffer. According to research results:
- 65 percent of respondents report formal internal SLAs exist in their organization.
- 32 percent report service-level demands have rapidly increased.
- 51 percent report they’ve had more difficulty meeting service-level demands during the past two-year period.
The research suggests that ongoing data center challenges such as complexity, heterogeneity and an ongoing skill shortage are driving the difficulty in meeting SLAs. Both qualitative and quantitative research indicate finding qualified IT staff who understand business issues is more problematic than understaffing problems caused by budget constraints. To add to these challenges, data center growth is persistent and expected to continue, driving enormous costs. Research shows that Global 2000 enterprises are spending more than $6.6 billion annually1 to help manage data center complexity. According to the research results:
- 52 percent of respondents report their data centers are currently understaffed.
- 69 percent of respondents reveal their data centers are growing at least 5 percent per year, while 11 percent report 20 percent growth or more per year.
- The average reported budget increase during the last two-year period is a modest 7 percent worldwide.
Once adjusted for an average rate of 3 percent inflation, data center budget growth has been minimal during the past five years. Findings indicate that organizations are forced to spend larger portions of their limited budget to keep the business up and running, as opposed to innovating and adding value to the business.
Server Virtualization and Consolidation Are Key Cost Containment Strategies
Server virtualization and consolidation are considered top cost containment strategies for the majority of respondents, particularly in the United States. According to the research results:
- 90 percent of respondents are at least discussing server virtualization; 50 percent are implementing virtualization strategies.
- 91 percent are at least discussing server consolidation; 58 percent are implementing consolidation strategies.
- 75 percent of respondents are considering storage virtualization as a potential solution.
- 59 percent of respondents indicate Web applications are the most likely to be moved into a virtual environment, followed by database management applications, selected by 42 percent of respondents.
As data center managers increasingly turn to virtualization to contain costs and manage growth, there is a clear need for tools and technologies to manage both physical and virtual environments in a more consistent and comprehensive manner. These solutions can empower data center professionals to master the growing complexity of their data centers, and have greater confidence that they can deliver against the aggressive SLAs that have been set for them.
Data Centers Face Pervasive Skills Shortage
Data center staffing challenges are pervasive among respondents. According to research results:
- 86 percent of respondents have difficulty finding qualified applicants.
- 68 percent report staffing is challenging because data centers are too complex to manage.
- 60 percent believe staff skill sets are too narrow.
- 57 percent indicate that employees’ skills do not match their current needs.
Findings Highlight Need for Standardized Approach to Reduce Complexity
Data Center managers interviewed echoed the need for standardization to master data center complexity and better utilize current resources. Symantec recommends companies standardize on a single layer of infrastructure software that supports all major applications, databases, processors and storage and server hardware platforms, to protect their information and applications, enhance data center service levels, improve storage and server utilization, consistently manage physical and virtual environments, and drive down operational cost.
“Today’s data centers face a truly intimidating – and worsening – set of challenges involving SLAs, data growth, staffing challenges and cost, as revealed by our State of the Data Center report,” said Sriram Iyer, Director, Enterprise Sales – Data Center Standardization, Asia Pacific & Japan, Symantec Corporation. “The services delivered by data center professionals have never been more important to their businesses, but at the same time, they are under relentless pressure to do more with less, and within an environment of maddening complexity. Data center managers can transform their data center and manage growing costs and complexity by standardizing on a common software infrastructure - a powerful weapon in the arsenal of the respondents we surveyed.”
About Symantec’s State of the Data Center research
Symantec’s State of the Data Center report is the result of quantitative and qualitative research conducted in September 2007 by Ziff Davis Enterprise by surveying data center managers in Global 2000 and large public sector institutions. The two-pronged study includes an online survey fielded in 14 countries, in-person focus groups in San Francisco, New York, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong, one-on-one telephone interviews in Mumbai and Singapore, and a teleconference focus group in Canada. A total of 71 data center managers participated in focus groups, while 800 data center managers completed the online survey. Research questions focused on data center costs, staffing, and data center strategies and technologies. Symantec issued part one of the State of the Data Center report in May 2007; forthcoming research will focus on energy efficiency in the data center.
1. With each increasing level of data center complexity the study showed IT spending rising by 3 percent. We can then attribute 3 percent of the average $110 million IT budget to complexity (See Symantec State of the Data Center research report).
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