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Mastering Complexity in the Data Center

October 17, 2006


With data centers becoming more and more complex, surely there must be a better way to manage such a vital corporate asset. This article explores a new approach to mastering data center complexity.


Most IT professionals would agree that a better approach to managing the data center infrastructure is long overdue. After all, the demands on data centers are growing dramatically, budgets and staff levels are essentially flat, and data centers themselves are becoming so complex, they’ve become increasingly hard to manage. Surely there must be a better way to manage this vital corporate asset.

This article explores a new approach to mastering data center complexity, one that is designed to help IT take proactive control of the data center, drive down costs, and increase service levels.

Just how complex are today’s data centers?

Consider the challenges facing EDS, a $20 billion technology services company and the second largest outsourcer in the world. The scale of EDS’ IT operation is enormous.

"EDS manages 65,000 servers located in 100 data centers around the world," says Larry Lozon, vice president of EDS’ Data Center Services group. "On the storage side, we manage over 12 petabytes of storage. It’s a diverse mix, too, with hardware and software from a wide range of different suppliers. And we have clients all around the world. Anything that rationalizes and simplifies the management of this conglomeration is obviously going to help us be more efficient—and profitable."

Today, virtually every data center uses equipment from a variety of different storage and server hardware vendors, and these vendors each provide unique and discrete tools to manage their own platforms. Unfortunately, the result has been a proliferation of inconsistent tools and approaches.

To remedy this situation, Symantec has developed an approach that creates a software infrastructure that enables companies to simplify their data centers, actively manage and optimize their diverse storage and server assets, and deliver IT service levels that support the business.

Symantec Data Center Foundation is a suite of data protection, storage, server, and application management solutions. It consists of four suites of products to manage data centers: Veritas NetBackup, Veritas Storage Foundation, Veritas Server Foundation, and Veritas i3 — APM. These four suites form the pillars of a foundation that allows IT to manage data, storage, servers, and applications with a unified set of products.

Data management

The need for instant, on-demand data recovery is becoming increasingly vital for all business operations. While traditional tape backups have proven effective over the years, today’s dynamic business climate demands faster, more efficient backups and on-demand recovery. Disk-based data protection, specifically continuous data protection, addresses these issues in a way that eliminates the need for backup windows, allows end users to recover their own data without contacting IT, and delivers an integrated disk-to-disk-to-tape solution. For organizations looking to manage data growth, improve reliability, and speed data recovery, continuous data protection can also improve overall data protection without weighing down IT in costly, high-administration solutions. By using disk as the primary medium for data protection and recovery, organizations can leverage traditional tape backups to provide secondary data protection for longer-term retention and off-site storage.

Net Backup is the industry-leading data protection solution designed for disk. It eliminates backup windows and provides instantaneous recovery. Centralized administration provides scalable management of distributed backup and remote servers.

Storage management

If IT organizations are to meet the growing demands placed on them, and at the same time keep costs under control, they must find ways to make optimal use of data center assets such as servers, storage hardware, and their IT staff. This requires the ability to transform storage management beyond a single application, or a single server, or a single storage device.

Storage Foundation Management Server provides centralized application, server, and storage management capabilities across a broad array of operating systems and storage hardware. Storage Foundation’s dynamic storage tiering enables data to be dynamically moved to different storage tiers to rapidly respond to changing business needs. CommandCentral Storage integrates storage resource management, performance and policy management, storage provisioning, and SAN management to ensure that the storage infrastructure runs efficiently. It enables IT organizations to dynamically map applications to the resources they consume and implement storage tiers to match data to the appropriate storage devices based on business requirements.

Server management

It goes without saying that to effectively run a data center, IT needs to understand what is actually in it. Veritas Server Foundation gives IT the ability to discover in detail what is running on all the servers in the data center, actively manage and administer those servers, and ensure that mission-critical applications running on those servers are always available.

Application management

A survey conducted in July 2006 by Applied Research indicates the extent to which business application slowdowns affect business productivity, customer loyalty, and employee morale. The survey revealed that 24% of IT staff time is devoted to addressing business application performance delays. In complex business application environments, delays can be caused by changes or updates required to keep pace with end user demand. In addition, the IT professionals polled in the survey recognize that the performance and availability of these applications directly affect the customer experience. Of the IT managers polled, 76% acknowledged that persistent delays would affect customer loyalty to their organizations.

Veritas i3 application performance management solutions help IT ensure the application environment is performing optimally through all levels of the infrastructure—from the client to the storage.


Data centers today are at the breaking point. Complexity has run out of control, driving costs up and jeopardizing service levels.

The Symantec Data Center Foundation is intended to give enterprises the ability to standardize on a single infrastructure software platform across their entire data center, thereby replacing dozens of different tools. The goal: increased protection and availability of critical information and applications, improved utilization of storage and server hardware assets, and enhanced visibility and control of the data center environment.

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