Midsize Enterprises Leading In New Data Center Tech: Symantec

data center

The 2010 State of the Data Center survey also found that security, backup and recovery, and continuous data protection are top priorities of data center staff for 2010, according to Symantec, which released the results on Monday.

The survey was conducted by research company Applied Research, and included the responses of 1,780 businesses worldwide with 1,000 or more employees. About 62 percent of the respondents were large enterprises with 10,000 or more employees, 23 percent were midsize enterprises with 2,000 to 9,999 employees, and 15 percent were smaller enterprises, according to Symantec's definition. About one-third of the respondents were from the U.S. and Canada.

The idea that midsize enterprises were leading the way in terms of adopting new technologies was a surprise to Symantec, said Sean Derrington, director of the company's Storage and Availability Management Group.

The gap between midsize enterprises and their large enterprise and small enterprise cousins was noticed across the full range of new data center technologies, and was particularly large with such technologies as platform-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, public cloud computing, continuous data protection, and replication.

Sponsored post

"As midsize enterprises are leading the way in technology adoption, they are also changing the fastest," Derrington said. "They are also looking to deploy new applications faster than large enterprises."

There are a couple of reasons for this, Derrington said.

First, midsize enterprises have more resources and staff than smaller enterprises that can be applied towards adopting new technology.

Midsize enterprises also need to be faster than large enterprises for competitive reasons, Derrington said.

"Larger companies often get bogged down with technology, and can't adapt as quick," he said. "They can take years to evaluate new technology. And small companies just don't have enough resources."

As a whole, about one-third of the survey respondents said that they are dealing with too many applications, which makes data centers too complex. About half of the respondents found SLAs (service level agreements) more difficult and costly to meet than in the past. And two-thirds of them are in the process of implementing 10 or more key initiatives in 2010.

Yet despite the increasing complexity of the data center, about half of all enterprises responded in the survey that they are somewhat or extremely understaffed, particularly in such key infrastructure areas as networking, virtualization, and security.

The biggest staffing issues are tight budgets and the difficulty of finding qualified applicants, despite 76 percent of enterprises having at least as many open job requisitions as they did a year ago, Derrington said.

As a result, existing personnel are expected to be handling the work of two or three people, making it hard to get the required training, he said. "If an enterprise has 10 openings in the data center, but has 20 fewer people than last year, this is still a big issue," he said.

Of the various data center initiatives which enterprises are considering in 2010, security is tops, with 83 percent of them citing security as either somewhat important or absolutely important.

Backup and recovery is second, with 79 percent of enterprises citing it as either somewhat important or absolutely important, followed by continuous data protection at 76 percent.

Rounding out the top 10, according to Symantec's survey, are storage resource management, server virtualization, data archiving, energy savings, replication of backup data, server consolidation, and storage virtualization.

The buzz around cloud computing is also starting to generate interest in enterprises, with 50-plus percent of enterprises citing private cloud computing, hybrid cloud computing, and public cloud computing as somewhat important or absolutely important.

Derrington said the survey pointed out the importance of finding better ways to help enterprises move forward in terms of disaster recovery. About 80 percent of enterprises have confidence in their disaster recovery plans, but about one-third of enterprises said their plans need better documentation or more work.

About 41 percent of enterprises cited cloud computing, 28 percent remote offices, and 23 percent virtual servers as areas where their disaster recovery plans needed the most work.

For solution providers, the results of the survey point to the need to help customers better manage their storage requirements in order to attack issues related to disaster recovery as well as data center budgets and staffing, Derrington said.

"For the channel, there are opportunities with technologies like thin provisioning and deduplication," he said. "They need to use these technologies to help better manage both the virtual and the physical parts of their data center infrastructures."