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Transforming the Data Center Through Standardization

December 4, 2007

Summary

Data centers today are at the breaking point -- complexity has gone out of control, driving costs up and jeopardizing service levels. That’s why Symantec recommends companies standardize on a single layer of infrastructure software.
Data centers today are at the breaking point -- complexity has gone out of control, driving costs up and jeopardizing service levels. Recent research results suggest the primary challenges for data center managers are stringent internal service-level agreements, ongoing data center growth, and staffing issues. This article summarizes those research results and then discusses how standardization can help master data center complexity and better utilize current resources.

Pervasive challenges

In late October, Symantec released the findings of its most recent worldwide State of the Data Center research report. The report, conducted by Ziff Davis Enterprise, surveyed data center managers in Global 2000 and large public sector institutions in 14 countries. (This podcast provides an overview of the report.)

Among the pervasive challenges identified by the report:
  • Service Level Agreements The report found that stringent SLAs mean data centers must deliver ever-increasing levels of speed, agility, and availability; however, budget growth is not keeping pace with data center growth. According to the report, 65% of respondents said formal internal SLAs exist in their organization. In addition, 51% report they’ve had more difficulty meeting service-level demands on the past two years.
  • Data Center Growth The report found that data center growth is expected to continue, driving enormous costs. Research shows that Global 2000 enterprises are spending more than $6.6 billion annually to help manage data center complexity. The report found that 52% of respondents said their data centers are currently understaffed.
  • Skills Shortage Data center staffing challenges are pervasive among respondents, according to the report. For example, 86% of respondents said they have difficulty finding qualified applicants, 68% said staffing is challenging because data centers are too complex to manage, and 60% believe staff skill sets are too narrow.
“Today’s data centers face a truly intimidating – and worsening – set of challenges involving SLAs, data growth, staffing challenges, and cost,” Symantec’s Matt Fairbanks in a statement. “The services delivered by data center professionals have never been more important to their businesses, but at the same time, they are under relentless pressure to do more with less, and within an environment of maddening complexity.”

Top containment strategies

The report found that server virtualization and consolidation are considered the top cost containment strategies for the majority of respondents, particularly in the United States. In fact, at least 90% of respondents are discussing server virtualization and server consolidation. Moreover, 50% of respondents are implementing virtualization strategies, while 58% are implementing consolidation strategies.

The need for a standardized approach

But as data center managers increasingly turn to virtualization to contain costs and manage growth, there is a clear need for tools to manage both physical and virtual environments more effectively.

Data center managers interviewed for the State of the Data Center report repeatedly stressed the need for standardization to master data center complexity and better utilize current resources.

“Data center managers can transform their data center and manage growing costs and complexity by standardizing on a common software infrastructure - a powerful weapon in the arsenal of the respondents we surveyed,” the report concluded.

Symantec recommends companies standardize on a single layer of infrastructure software that supports all major applications, databases, processors, and storage and server hardware platforms. Doing so can help protect their information and applications, enhance data center service levels, improve storage and server utilization, manage physical and virtual environments, and drive down operational cost.

Veritas Data Center software provides a range of critical technologies—data protection and data management, storage tiering, server and storage consolidation, data migration, storage capacity management, server automation, application availability, and disaster recovery—designed to help IT take proactive control of the data center and increase service levels.

Veritas Data Center software creates business value in a number of tangible ways. Perhaps the most important involves redirecting IT talent from mundane tasks to strategic projects that move the enterprise forward competitively. Equally significant is the avoidance of costs that are associated with unplanned downtime, low server and storage utilization rates, and subpar application performance.

Conclusion

With enterprises becoming increasingly dependent on their complex IT infrastructures, there is an urgent need for effective data center management. Symantec believes that the answer to the dilemma of rising complexity lies in the standardization of data center management tools.

Veritas Data Center software delivers value by reducing downtime, increasing productivity, improving customer retention, and minimizing costs. As more and more enterprises are discovering, they can dramatically reduce the complexity of their infrastructures by deploying these solutions to manage their data, storage, servers, and applications.

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