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Technology / Data

Symantec studies more-with-less data centres

As if cutting the huge cost of data centre computing is not a big enough problem, most centres have been found to be sorely understaffed going into 2009, with server and storage subsystems that are under-utilised and a disaster recovery plan that still needs work.

The outcome of a study by Symantec finds data centre managers hard pressed to accomplish more with what they have at the same time as they have to cut costs.

The net result is a flurry of initiatives aimed at increasing IT efficiency, the vendor has found.

For its 2008 State of the Data Center assessment Symantec targeted 1,600 data centre managers in Global 5000 and large public sector institutions located in 21 countries, part of an annual appraisal of data centre key performance indicators.

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The company asked enterprises to identify their key objectives for the year. “Reducing costs was by far the most frequently mentioned objective. In fact, reducing costs was mentioned by more companies than the next two objectives combined (improving service levels and improving responsiveness).”

Released today, the findings pinpoint three key initiatives that are being used to fight costs. They were increasing the use of automation for routine tasks, the cross-training of IT staff and server virtualisation/consolidation programmes.

Struggling with adequate staffing, data centre managers face a tough year, during which they will be compelled to deliver better service levels to meet increasing demands while reducing costs, Symantec concludes.

Some 56% of centres surveyed expected that the service levels demanded by the organisation would be getting more or much more difficult to meet. As many as 37% of sites reported being understaffed.

Nearly all were found to be pursuing a strategy of standardising server and storage management on one layer of software that will work across most application and hardware platforms.

But despite pushing hard to realise the benefits of these consolidation projects, in 2008 data centre managers were only able to report 60% server utilisation, which was actually down from a level of 70% in 2007.

And echoing findings of comparable studies a year ago, there appears to be room for
improvement in the area of disaster recovery, with 33% viewing their disaster recovery plan as ‘average’, with another 22% believing it needs work.
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