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IDG Survey: 90% of Data Centers Are Not Fully Optimized

Fewer than 10% of IT executives today consider their companies’ data centers and operations to be fully optimized for efficiency and cost-effectiveness, according to a new IDG Research Services survey conducted on behalf of Datalink. Challenges identified in the survey – Data Centers in Flux: The IT Optimization Challengeinclude addressing the demands of rapid data growth, the effort required to assess new technology choices, balancing day-to-day operational responsibilities with the need to innovate, and lack of alignment between internal IT skill sets and new operational needs.

The survey of IT leaders in organizations with an average of 25,000 employees also revealed difficulties in making on- and off-premise platform decisions to manage growing workloads, an emerging shift in the use of the public cloud and outsourced service providers, technology investment priorities over the next 12 months, and other trends related to efforts to increase IT operational efficiency.

Key findings showed that:

  • 90% of IT leaders rate their IT operations below the full optimization level in areas ranging from application workload management to process standardization and team staffing models. Nearly half of respondents ranked their optimization level between 1 and 6 on a scale of 1 to 10, indicating major room for improvement.
  • Determining a data center platform strategy is one of the most challenging decisions that IT faces today, requiring complex evaluations and analyses to determine the optimal mix of public/private/hybrid cloud, converged/hyperconverged infrastructure and other technologies to meet each organization’s specific needs.
  • The challenge is complicated by a growing application ecosystem, with the average number of applications expected to jump from 376 today to 426 over the next two years. The bulk of this application portfolio is currently managed by the internal IT organization and will continue to be in the future, placing increasing demands on IT resources.

IT organizations are attempting to meet these challenges in a variety of ways, according to the survey. Among them:

  • More than two-thirds of IT teams have deployed applications to a public cloud but 38% have brought them back in-house, primarily because of security and cost concerns. Other survey findings show that many organizations fail to perform a thorough analysis of workload requirements prior to making platform decisions, suggesting that these missteps can be avoided by a more rigorous assessment process.
  • IT organizations are slowly increasing their reliance on off-premises services including public cloud, outsourced data centers and colocation facilities to aid optimization efforts – leading to projections that IT infrastructure and workload management in corporate-owned data centers will shrink from 59% today to 47% over the next two years - but in-house IT staff will still manage nearly 60% of IT operations tasks two years from now.
  • Over half of all IT leaders are investing in new technologies to improve IT optimization in the next 12 months, with private cloud topping the list at 62% followed by other cloud platforms, IT-as-a-Service portals, converged/hyperconverged infrastructure and flash storage. Software-defined networking technology and data centers ranked last, with just 42% and 37% of respondents planning investments, respectively.

“Most IT organizations today are overwhelmed by the need to keep up with new technologies and an increasing number of applications, balance day-to-day operations with new IT initiatives, and simply do what they need to do to improve the way they manage workloads. The result, as this survey shows, is that they aren’t operating at peak efficiency or able to take advantage of opportunities to close the data center optimization gap between current and desired state,” said Datalink President and CEO Paul Lidsky. “Modernizing and streamlining the data center is imperative for IT departments in order to deliver the agility and flexibility required by their businesses, both today and in the future.”

The complete survey is available at www.datalink.com/IDG-Survey-DC.

Published Tuesday, October 25, 2016 4:29 PM by David Marshall
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