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Symantec’s 2008 State of the Data Centre Report Reveals Managers Pressured to “Do More with Less”

Symantec today released the findings of its 2008 State of the Data Centre report. The second annual study found that data centre managers are caught between two conflicting goals – more demanding user expectations and higher levels of performance, yet reducing costs remain the primary objective for the data centre.
  • 13 January, 2009 11:53

<p>Struggling with adequate staffing, data centre managers worldwide are compelled to deliver better service levels to meet increasing demands while reducing costs</p>
<p>SYDNEY, Australia – 13 January 2009 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today released the findings of its 2008 State of the Data Centre report.- - The second annual study found that data centre managers are caught between two conflicting goals – more demanding user expectations and higher levels of performance, yet reducing costs remain the primary objective for the data centre. The report also found that data centre staffing remains problematic, servers and storage continue to be underutilised and disaster recovery plans are out of date. Finally, the respondents indicated that while they are pursuing green data centre initiatives, they are doing so primarily based on cost benefits.</p>
<p>“This research confirms what we are seeing in the field,” said Rob Soderbery, senior vice president of Symantec’s Storage and Availability Management Group. “Attention has turned to initiatives that will drive immediate cost reduction, rather than longer term ROI driven programs. Storage has been a primary focus of these initiatives as the demand for capacity continues to rise, despite economic challenges.”</p>
<p>Doing More for Less</p>
<p>Of those surveyed, 75 percent globally and 78 percent in Australia reported user expectations are rising gradually or rapidly. Furthermore, 60 percent of the respondents globally and 64 percent in Australia saw meeting the service levels demanded by the organisation to be more difficult or much more difficult to meet. Only 10 percent globally and 14 percent in Australia saw service levels to be easier to meet.</p>
<p>Nonetheless, when asked to identify their key objectives for the year, improving responsiveness, reducing costs and scaling/adding capacity were the most frequently mentioned objectives for Australian respondents at 23 and 20 percent respectively.</p>
<p>The key initiatives data centres are pursuing to “do more with less” include automation of routine tasks (mentioned by 42 percent of global respondents and 44 percent in Australia), cross-training staff (40 percent globally and 28 percent in Australia) and reducing data centre complexity (35 percent globally and 33 percent in Australia).</p>
<p>Staffing Remains a Big Issue</p>
<p>According to the study, staffing remains a crucial issue with 36 percent globally and 46 percent in Australia reporting that they are understaffed while only 4 percent globally and 7 percent in Australia reported being overstaffed. Furthermore, 43 percent globally and 47 percent in Australia say finding qualified applicants is a big or huge problem.</p>
<p>To address the staffing issue companies are leaning on outsourcing and training. Nearly half (45 percent globally and 35 percent in Australia) outsource primarily to give data centre staff more time to focus on other tasks. The top three leading IT functions that businesses are outsourcing include business continuity (46 percent globally and 55 percent in Australia), backups (43 percent globally and 60 percent in Australia) and storage management (39 percent globally and 45 percent in Australia). Training is seen as strategic by 68 percent of the global respondents and 73 percent of the Australian respondents, with 78 percent globally and 80 percent of respondents in Australia expecting training budgets to rise or stay constant over the next two years.</p>
<p>Servers and Storage Remain Underutilised</p>
<p>Companies in 2008 reported that their data centre servers were operating at just 53 percent of capacity. Data centre storage utilisation was even lower at 50 percent. Not surprisingly Symantec found a flurry of activity aimed at increasing utilisation in both areas.</p>
<p>The major server-related initiatives include server consolidation (80 percent globally and 77 percent in Australia) and server virtualization (77 percent globally and 67 percent in Australia). For storage the leading initiatives were storage virtualization (76 percent globally and 53 percent in Australia), continuous data protection (71 percent globally and 57 percent in Australia) and storage resource management (71 percent and 63 percent in Australia).</p>
<p>Disaster Recovery Lags Behind</p>
<p>Data centre management continues to report room for improvement in the area of disaster recovery. In fact, just 35 percent globally and 27 percent in Australia report their disaster recovery plan is above average, while 27 percent globally and 30 percent in Australia say it needs work and 9 percent globally and 3 percent in Australia report their plan is informal or undocumented. Companies still find that human error is one of the biggest causes of unplanned downtime, being the culprit 25 percent (19 percent in Australia) of the time. Hardware/software failure and power outages were also some of the key causes of unplanned downtime for Australian respondents.</p>
<p>Green Data Centre Driven by Cost</p>
<p>Continuing the trend first spotted in 2007, the data centre’s focus on “being green” was driven by cost issues in 2008 with social responsibility on the rise. The study asked companies why creating a Green Data Centre was important to their workplace. Reducing electricity consumption was mentioned by 54 percent of respondents globally and 59 percent in Australia. Cooling costs (51 percent globally and 68 percent in Australia) and a sense of responsibility to the community (42 percent globally and 45 percent in Australia) were also noted as reasons for creating a Green Data Centre in the workplace</p>
<p>Report Underscores Need for Solutions</p>
<p>This year’s study shows the continuing importance for companies to control data centre complexity and costs. With the mandate to literally do more with less, companies are scrambling to find solutions that have an immediate effect on cost and efficiency.</p>
<p>“IT managers and executives are in a tough spot,” said Soderbery. “Cost reduction is a non-negotiable objective this year, while user expectations remain high and demand continues to rise. We are seeing this translate into interest in solutions that provide customers with confidence and deliver immediate benefits in reducing server and storage spend without disrupting today’s environment.”</p>
<p>About Symantec’s State of the Data Centre Research</p>
<p>Symantec’s second annual State of the Data Centre report is the result of a survey conducted in September and October of 2008 by Applied Research. The study targeted 1,600 data centre managers in Global 5000 and large public sector institutions located in 21 countries including 30 companies from Australia. To access the complete 2008 and 2007 State of the Data Centre reports or review additional State of the Data Centre resources, please visit the State of the Data Centre online press kit.</p>
<p>About Symantec</p>
<p>Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organisations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at</p>
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