Data centre costs, complexity grow: Report

Business critical applications, server virtualization cited as complexity issues while the need to improve security was a driver for information governance, according to a survey

Data centre complexity issues such as increased use of business applications and rising facility costs were cited as areas of concern for IT executives, according to the results of a Symantec global survey.

The 2012 State of the Data Centre survey, which was conducted by ReRez Research in March 2012 with 100 Australia and New Zealand IT executives taking part out of a global pool of 2453 respondents found that complexity was impacting all areas of data centres including security, infrastructure, disaster recovery (DR), storage and compliance.

According to the survey, 67 per cent of A/NZ respondents reported that the number of business-critical applications was increasing.

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Other key drivers of data centre complexity included the growth of data — highlighted by 43 per cent of respondents — while mobile computing and staffing issues were a concern for 37 per cent. In addition, 36 per cent of the A/NZ IT executives cited the lack of budget as a problem while server virtualization was adding to the headache for 34 per cent of those surveyed.

However, the biggest data centre complexity was higher cost for 50 per cent of those executives surveyed.

According to the survey, other major impacts included finding information (37 per cent), longer lead times for storage migration and provisioning storage (both at 36 per cent) followed by security breaches and data centre downtime (31 per cent each).

Outages

The survey also found that on a global average, enterprises had 16 data centre outages in the past 12 months costing US$5.1 million.

In A/NZ, 72 per cent of organisations noted that data centre outages cost them US$250,000 or less. These outages were due to system failures, human error and natural disasters.

Information governance

However, the results were not all doom and gloom for data centre managers. According to the survey, 63 per cent of A/NZ respondents were considering increasing their budget to mitigate data centre complexity.

In addition, the majority of local IT executives (77 per cent) were discussing information governance, implementing trials or programs. Information governance is designed to classify, retain and discover information to reduce information risk and the cost of managing this information.

According to the results, 77 per cent of respondents cited security as the biggest driver for information governance.

In addition, IT executives had a number of goals to achieve with information governance including reducing the cost of information management, reducing storage costs and reducing legal and compliance risks.

Data centre tips

Aside from the survey results, Symantec Pacific systems engineering senior director, Paul Lancaster, shared some advice for reducing data centre complexity.

  • Establish C-level ownership of information governance. Start with high return on investment (ROI) projects such as data loss prevention, archiving and eDiscovery to preserve critical information.

  • Get visibility beyond platforms. Understand the business services that IT is providing and all of the dependencies to reduce downtime and miscommunication.

  • Understand what IT assets you have, how they are being consumed and by whom. This will help cut costs and risk. The organisation won’t buy servers and storage it doesn’t need while 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 service level agreements [SLAs] and reduce capital expenses and training costs.

  • Deploy deduplication to help address the information `explosion’ and reduce the rising costs associated with backing up data.

  • Use appliances to simply backup and recovery operations across physical/virtual machines.

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