Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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Survey: Datacenter Optimization Remains Elusive 

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A new vendor-sponsored survey finds that the vast majority of datacenter operators doubt IT infrastructure matches their digital business strategy while many remain concerned about public cloud security.

The IT optimization survey conducted by IDG Research and sponsored by IT vendor Datalink Corp., Eden Prairie, Minn., found that less than 10 percent of the more than 100 executives surveyed believe their datacenters were optimized. Datacenter optimization was defined as high availability, the ability to scale IT operations along with reliable and secure access to business applications from any device regardless of location.

The datacenter optimization survey released Thursday (Feb. 2) also found that nearly 40 percent of respondents using public cloud services have moved workloads back on premises "due to security or cost concerns." That finding highlights the steady enterprise embrace of hybrid IT infrastructure as enterprises move to keep critical workloads in-house.

Enterprise "users expect systems to be available all the time, and they want reliable and secure access to applications and information from any device regardless of their location," the IDG survey noted.

Given the expanding range of options for fine-tuning datacenters, including software-defined platforms, flash and all-flash storage systems and mixed-and-match public and private cloud services, the survey also found that IT executives are still mulling their options. Ultimately, the report predicts, "datacenters of the future will likely be made up of multiple integrated on- and off-premises platforms working in concert."

As companies look to squeeze as much production as possible from their datacenters, the biggest challenge was balancing daily operations with attempts to upgrade and optimize IT infrastructure. Operators are still struggling to evaluate technology options ranging from cloud services, flash storage and hyper-converged infrastructure, the IDG survey found. Much of that evaluation centers on cost containment and determining the return on new IT investments. Only IT security concerns (55 percent) ranked higher than cost concerns (52 percent) in the datacenter optimization survey.

Nevertheless, the survey found that in the long run "the existence of technologies and service delivery options such as cloud computing, virtualization, flash storage, and hyper-convergence have made it easier for companies to optimize their datacenters." Survey sponsor Datalink was recently acquired by Insight Enterprises.

A steady stream of industry polls highlight growing concerns about IT security and growing infrastructure demands. For example, a separate survey of IT auditors released this week also listed IT security as the top challenge for datacenter operators.

"It is no surprise to find security, technology infrastructure and emerging technologies atop the list of challenges that IT auditors see in their organizations,” Gordon Braun, a managing director with the IT consulting firm Protiviti, which sponsored the IT audit survey.

"Yet, we find the other challenges listed to be just as critical to companies, from resource and skills gaps to ongoing transitions to cloud and virtual networks," Braun added.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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