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Issue Date: February 2008

Data centre managers adopt virtualisation, server consolidation

14 February 2008

As data centre managers increasingly turn to virtualisation and standardisation to contain costs and manage growth, there is a clear need for tools and technologies to administer both physical and virtual environments in a more consistent and comprehensive manner.
This is according to Symantec's latest State of the Data Centre Report, a study set out to explore issues data centre managers are facing today, which states that two-thirds of data centre managers said their data centres are becoming too complex to manage the high business demands required from them.
Sheldon Hand, presales consulting manager at Symantec says there is a realisation in the industry that traditional approaches can only do so much when facing this type of complexity and heterogeneity in the enterprise.
"Businesses today are demanding higher application availability and rapid integration of new technologies in the midst of massive amounts of data which needs to be protected per privacy laws and government regulations," he says.
The report states that 65% of respondents report formal internal service level agreements (SLAs) exist in their organisation, 32% report service-level demands have rapidly increased, while 51% report they have had more difficulty meeting service-level demands during the past two-year period.
Server virtualisation and consolidation are considered top cost containment strategies for the majority of respondents in the United States, while other countries focus more on offloading work through the automation of tasks, outsourcing and standardisation.
According to the report there is a reason for the regional difference.
In the United States, VMware is the dominant choice for service and application virtualisation efforts. Outside the United States, a higher percentage rely more heavily on solutions from Microsoft, IBM and HP.
Those that would use Microsoft for server virtualisation might also be waiting for the more robust virtualisation features that will be part of the next release of Windows Server operating system.
"These solutions can empower data centre professionals to master the growing complexity of their data centres, and have greater confidence that they can deliver against the aggressive SLAs that have been set for them. Staffing issues however remain a problem. 86% of respondents have difficulty in finding qualified and highly skilled applicants in complex data centre environments," he says.
Looking to the future, Hand says companies will be taking different approaches to cope with the complexity of their data centres.
"Several data centre managers have mentioned adopting ITIL methodologies. Some noted that in the next five years they would be going for staffing certifications, such as Data Centre Foundation Certification and Certified Data Centre Professional to help with their overall data centre operations."
Hand says Symantec's development of its data centre technologies is ongoing. "Our data centre solutions continue to simplify complex data centre infrastructures by providing critical services that support all major operating systems, storage arrays and servers so that companies can focus on the service they are delivering, not the hardware that delivers it," he concludes.

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