SYDNEY, Australia – October 17, 2012 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced that 70 percent of organisations 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 organisations 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 organisations are taking to address data center growing pains. The State of the Data Center findings emphasise the importance of taking steps to intelligently manage organisational resources to rein in operational costs and control information growth.
Data Center Complexity Pervasive
Organisations 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. Respondents rated complexity across all areas fairly evenly (6.6 or higher out of 10), with security topping the list at 7.1. The average level of complexity for companies in Asia-Pacific/Japan, which included Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), rated lowest at 6.2, with the world-wide average level at 6.7. Organisations in the Americas rated complexity highest, at 7.8.
Effects of Data Center Complexity are Diverse and Costly
Several factors are driving data center complexity in Australia and New Zealand. First, respondents reported they are dealing with an increasing number of applications that they consider to be business-critical. Locally, 67 percent (65 percent globally) 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 growth of data, cited by 43 percent of respondents, (51 percent globally), mobile computing and staffing issues, both at 37 percent (mobile computing at 44 percent globally, staffing issues at 40 percent), budget shortfalls at 36 percent (43 percent globally), and server virtualisation at 34 percent (43 percent globally).
The survey revealed that the effects of growing data center complexity are far reaching. The most commonly mentioned impact is higher costs, with half of the organisations citing it as an effect of complexity. Other impacts include more time spent finding information (37 percent), longer lead times for storage migration and provisioning storage (both at 36 percent), reduced agility (35 percent), and security breaches and downtime (both at 31 percent).
Globally the typical organisation experienced an average of 16 data center outages in the past 12 months, at a total cost of US$5.1 million. In Australia and New Zealand 72 percent of organisations said that outages cost them US$250,000 or less. The most common causes were systems failures, followed by human error, and natural disasters.
IT Taking Steps to Alleviate Complexity
According to the Australia and New Zealand data, organisations are implementing several measures to reduce complexity, including training, standardisation, centralisation, virtualisation, and increased budgets. In fact, 63 percent (same globally) of respondents considered increasing their budget to be somewhat or extremely important to dealing with data center complexity. However, the single biggest initiative organisations are undertaking is to implement a comprehensive information governance strategy, defined as a formal program that allows organisations 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. Seventy-seven percent of ANZ organisations (90 percent globally) 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 77 percent of ANZ respondents (75 percent globally), the availability of new technologies that make information governance easier at 70 percent (69 percent globally), regulatory and legal issues at 65 and 63 percent (globally 61 and 56 percent, respectively), increased data center complexity at 57 percent (65 percent globally), and data growth at 56 percent (65 percent globally).
Organisations have several goals with information governance, including reducing the cost of information management, considered important by 74 percent (69 percent globally), reducing storage costs, 72 percent (68 percent globally), setting protection to match the value of information, 72 percent 69 percent globally), enhancing security, 70 percent (75 percent globally), reduced legal and compliance risks, 70 and 65 percent respectively (65 and 64 percent, respectively), and making it easier for find the right information in a timely fashion 63 percent (70 percent globally).
"Australia and New Zealand are performing well against the world when it comes to data center complexity, but that doesn't mean the geography is without its challenges. Companies need to take an in-depth look at what downtime, security breaches and poor information governance are truly costing them." – Paul Lancaster, senior director, Systems Engineering, Pacific Region, Symantec
"Many IT managers are feeling the weight of their data and information, whether it's information stored on premises, on virtualised servers, in the cloud or in applications. But smart businesses are starting to understand how to manage, locate and provision the data explosion, and save costs while doing so." – Paul Lancaster, senior director, Systems Engineering, Pacific Region, Symantec
"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 organisations back. The difference is up to organisations, 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." – Brian Dye, vice president, Information Intelligence Group, Symantec Corp.
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 organisation 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 organisations in 34 countries. Within Australia and New Zealand, there were 100 organisations. Respondents included senior IT staff focused on operations and tactical functions, as well as staff members focused on planning and IT management. The margin of error was +/- 9.8%
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