Survey: Reducing complexity is an IT priority

By Ann Silverthorn

—A recent Applied Research survey of 500 IT managers reveals—not surprisingly—that a majority of them want to reduce the complexity in their data centers and increase data and application availability. Among the biggest storage-related "pain points," data availability ranked first for 23% of the respondents, followed by data migration (17%) and storage capacity management (16%).

The survey results also show that 65% of the responding companies are interested in reducing the number of storage and server hardware platforms in their data centers. Of those surveyed, 43% have more than three server operating systems, and 33% use disk arrays from three or more vendors in their data centers.

Sean Derrington, senior group manager for product management at Symantec, which commissioned the survey, explains, "Data centers will continue to be heterogeneous and complex, but IT managers want to reduce the complexity. They want new ways to leverage existing resources—both technology and personnel—and they want to increase operational efficiencies. One way users are doing this is with dual disaster-recovery [DR] sites. We call it 'DR for free.' "

Derrington explains that some companies have two data centers for availability—one production data center and another data center that runs tests and development. In the event of a disaster, they rapidly re-provision the test and development servers to the exact images of the production servers and then fail-over to the secondary site.

IT managers not only want to keep applications available; they also want to understand which storage devices the applications are using and the difference between storage utilization and storage allocation, according to Derrington. "They want to understand what they're spending their IT dollars on year over year, and they also want flexibility for data migration."

"Companies look to migration capabilities and storage capacity management to standardize on a server and storage infrastructure to reduce capital expenditure costs. They want to drive down hardware procurement costs, and they also want to drive down operational costs," says Derrington, commenting on the Applied Research survey results. "They'd like one tool to manage their environments, so they can have standard operations across heterogeneous environments. By standardizing the server and storage infrastructure, they can drive down capital and operational expenditures, but they'll still able to satisfy the application requirements for high availability and disaster recovery."

This article was originally published on March 11, 2006