While one of the many promises of cloud is that it reduces IT complexity, yet a new industry study revealed that most businesses (79 percent) report increasing complexity in the data center.
According to the results of Symantec’s 2012 State of the Data Center Survey, the cause of data center complexity stems from a variety of factors, with most (44 percent) organizations citing mobile computing as a top driver of data center complexity.
“As today’s businesses generate more information and introduce new technologies into the data center, these changes can either act as a sail to catch the wind and accelerate growth, or an anchor holding organizations back,” Brian Dye, vice president, Information Intelligence Group, Symantec Corp., said in a statement. “The difference is up to organizations, which can meet the challenges head on by implementing controls such as standardization or establishing an information governance strategy to keep information from becoming a liability.”
Complexity in the data center does not discriminate – organizations of all sizes, industries and regions report increasing complexity within the data center, which impacts all areas of computing, most notably security and infrastructure, as well as disaster recovery, storage and compliance.
“With new technology being rapidly adopted, from mobile devices to cloud computing, businesses are struggling to integrate new solutions that promise increased productivity and cost-savings, while managing ever-growing amounts of information,” Symantec’s Danny Milrad, director of product marketing, wrote in a company blog post.
Organizations are also dealing with an increasing number of applications that they consider as “business-critical.” According to the survey, 65 percent said the number of business-critical applications is increasing or increasing greatly. Other key drivers of data center complexity include the growth of strategic IT trends such as mobile computing (cited by 44 percent of respondents), server virtualization (43 percent), and public cloud (41 percent).
The effects of growing data center complexity are far reaching, with bigger costs, security and downtime among them. The most commonly mentioned impact is higher costs, with nearly half of the organizations citing it as an effect of complexity. Other impacts include reduced agility (39 percent), longer lead times for storage migration (39 percent) and provisioning storage (38 percent), security breaches (35 percent), and downtime (35 percent).
The typical organization experienced an average of 16 data center outages in the past 12 months, at a total cost of $5.1 million. The most common cause was systems failures, followed by human error, and natural disasters, Symantec officials said.
According to the survey, organizations are implementing several measures to reduce complexity, including training, standardization, centralization, virtualization and increased budgets.
Symantec outlined several recommendations that IT can try to mitigate the effects of data center complexity, including the following:
· Establish C-level ownership of information governance. Start with high-ROI projects like data loss prevention, archiving and eDiscovery to preserve critical information, find what you need and delete the rest.
· Get visibility beyond platforms. Understand the business services that IT is providing and all of the dependencies to reduce downtime and miscommunications.
· Understand what IT assets you have, how they are being consumed, and by whom. This will help cut costs and risk. The organization won’t buy servers and storage it doesn’t need, teams can be held accountable for what they use, and the company can be sure it isn’t running out of capacity.
· Reduce the number of backup applications to meet recovery SLAs and reduce capital expenses, operating expenses and training costs.
· Deploy deduplication everywhere to help address the information explosion and reduce the rising costs associated with backing up data.
· Use appliances to simplify backup and recovery operations across physical and virtual machines.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli