SINGAPORE – September 24, 2012 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced that 79 percent of organizations report increasing complexity in the data center, according to the results of its 2012 State of the Data Center Survey. The survey, which provides insight into the top challenges organizations are grappling with as the data center continues to transform, highlights the underlying drivers of data center complexity, current impacts on the business, and the latest initiatives IT is adopting to mitigate the issues. While the cause of data center complexity stems from a variety of factors, respondents identify implementing an information governance strategy as the main initiative organizations are taking to address data center growing pains. The State of the Data Center findings emphasize the importance of taking steps to intelligently manage organizational resources to rein in operational costs and control information growth.
"Data centers are becoming increasingly complex as organizations generate huge volumes of data, deploy strategic technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing, and embrace mobility within the enterprise," said Tan Yuh Woei, Country Director, Singapore, Symantec. "These implementations bring about evolving challenges in managing critical data center environments. To get the most value out of their investment, businesses will need to overcome these roadblocks by implementing controls such as standardization or establishing an information governance strategy to keep information from becoming a liability. Otherwise, efforts made to 'modernize' the data center will be in vain."
Data Center Complexity Pervasive
Organizations of all sizes, industries and regions report increasing complexity within the data center. According to the survey, data center complexity impacts all areas of computing, most notably security and infrastructure, as well as disaster recovery, storage and compliance. Globally, respondents rated complexity across all areas fairly evenly (6.56 or higher out of 10), with security topping the list at 7.06. The average level of complexity for companies around the world was 6.69. On average, organizations in the Americas rated complexity highest, at 7.81, and those in Asia-Pacific/Japan rated it lowest at 6.15.
Effects of Data Center Complexity are Diverse and Costly
Several factors are driving data center complexity. First, respondents reported they are dealing with an increasing number of applications that they consider to be business-critical. In Singapore, 69 percent said the number of business-critical applications is increasing. Other key drivers of data center complexity include cloud computing (49 percent), software-as-a-service (48 percent), growth in the volume of data (46 percent), mobile computing (44 percent), and storage virtualization (41 percent).
The survey revealed that the effects of growing data center complexity are far reaching. The most commonly mentioned impacts are higher costs and longer lead times for storage migration, with nearly half of the organizations citing each as an effect of complexity. Other impacts include security breaches (stated by 42 percent of respondents), longer time to find information (39 percent), reduced agility (39 percent), lost or misplaced data (39 percent), downtime (38 percent), missed SLAs (38 percent), and litigation exposure (37 percent).
Globally, the typical organization experienced an average of 16 data center outages in the past 12 months, at a total cost of US$5.1 million. The most common cause was systems failures, followed by human error, and natural disasters.
IT Taking Steps to Alleviate Complexity
According to the survey, local organizations are implementing several measures to reduce complexity, including training, standardization, centralization, and embracing cloud computing. However, the single biggest initiative organizations are undertaking is to implement a comprehensive information governance strategy, defined as a formal program that allows organizations to proactively classify, retain and discover information in order to reduce information risk, reduce the cost of managing information, establish retention policies and streamline their eDiscovery process. In fact, in Singapore, 91 percent of organizations are either discussing information governance, or have implemented trials or actual programs.
The biggest drivers for information governance include security (rated somewhat or extremely important by 56 percent of respondents), the availability of new technologies that make information governance easier (53 percent), legal issues (52 percent), increased data center complexity (52 percent), regulatory issues (49 percent) and data growth (46 percent).
Organizations locally have several goals with information governance, including matching the value of data (considered important by 58 percent); reduced cost of information management (56 percent), storage (55 percent), and eDiscovery (55 percent); reduced legal risks (53 percent); enhanced security (52 percent); and ease of finding the right information in a timely manner (52 percent).
The following are some recommendations that IT can try to mitigate the effects of data center complexity:
- 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.
Symantec's 2012 State of the Data Center Survey
Symantec's 2012 State of the Data Center Survey was conducted by ReRez Research in March 2012. The results are based on responses from 2,453 IT professionals at organizations in 32 countries. Within Singapore, there were 100 organizations. Respondents included senior IT staff focused on operations and tactical functions, as well as staff members focused on planning and IT management.
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