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  • Symantec's 2008 State of the Data Centre report reveals managers pressured to "do more with less"

    (EMAILWIRE.COM, February 20, 2009 ) Hong Kong - Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) has 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centre staffing remains problematic, servers and storage continue to be underutilised and disaster recovery plans are out of date.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.

    "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 return on investment driven programme. Storage has been a primary focus of these initiatives as the demand for capacity continues to rise, despite economic challenges."

    Doing more for less
    Of those surveyed, 75 per cent reported user expectations are rising gradually or rapidly. Furthermore, 60 per cent of the respondents saw meeting the service levels demanded by the organisation to be more difficult or much more difficult to meet. Only 10 per cent saw service levels to be easier to meet.

    Nonetheless, when asked to identify their key objectives for the year, reducing costs was by far the most frequently mentioned goal. In fact, reducing costs was mentioned by more companies than the next two objectives combined (improving service levels and improving responsiveness).

    The key initiatives data centres are pursuing to "do more with less" include automation of routine tasks (mentioned by 42 per cent of respondents), cross-training staff (40 per cent) and reducing data centre complexity (35 per cent).

    Staffing remains a big issue

    According to the study, staffing remains a crucial issue with 36 per cent reporting that they are understaffed while only 4 per cent reported being overstaffed. Furthermore, 43 per cent say finding qualified applicants is a big or huge problem.

    To address the staffing issue companies are leaning on outsourcing and training. Nearly half (45 per cent) 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 per cent), backups (43 per cent) and storage management (39 per cent). Training is seen as strategic by 68 per cent of the respondents, with 78 per cent expecting training budgets to rise or stay constant over the next two years.

    Servers and storage Remain underutilised

    Companies in 2008 reported that their data centre servers were operating at just 53 per cent of capacity. Data centre storage utilisation was even lower at 50 per cent. Not surprisingly Symantec found a flurry of activity aimed at increasing utilisation in both areas.

    The major server-related initiatives include server consolidation (80 per cent) and server virtualisation (77 per cent). For storage the leading initiatives were storage virtualisation (76 per cent), continuous data protection (71 per cent) and storage resource management (71 per cent).

    Disaster recovery lags behind

    Data centre management continues to report room for improvement in the area of disaster recovery. In fact, just 35 per cent report their disaster recovery plan is above average, while 27 per cent say it needs work and 9 per cent report their plan is informal or undocumented. Companies still find that human error is the biggest cause of unplanned downtime, being the culprit 25 per cent of the time. Hardware/software failure and power outages follow closely behind.

    Green data centre driven by cost

    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 per cent, followed by reducing cooling costs (51 per cent) and a sense of responsibility to the community (42 per cent).

    Report underscores need for solutions

    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.
    "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."

    About Symantec's State of the Data Centre Research
    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. To access the complete 2008 and 2007 State of the Data Centre reports or review additional State of the Data Centre resources, please visit
    About Symantec

    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

    Issued on behalf of Symantec
    by EBA Communications

    For further information please contact:
    Emma Jenkins/ Howard Jones (EBA): (852) 2537 8022

    This press release was issued through GroupWeb EmailWire.Com. For more information on unlimited press release distribution for $99/month, go to

    Symantec Corp.
    Howard Jones
    (852) 2537 8022


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