– Tim Laplante, Director of Product Strategy for Vision Solutions, says:
The trends are clear. Virtualization has surpassed 50 percent of all server workloads, according to the Gartner Group, which believes it will reach 86 percent in 2016. Cloud adoption has increased 200 percent in just two years, according to the Society of Information Management. And every day, companies are experiencing mergers and acquisitions, changing technology vendors, and heterogeneous environments that include traditional servers, virtualized servers and the cloud are now the rule rather than the exception.
Like a child about to board his first airplane, many IT professionals and data center managers are both terribly excited and tremendously anxious, and many are plain afraid. Today’s “real data center” is a combination of different operating systems, databases and servers that must communicate with each other. Not only that, they must achieve a level of efficiency – fiscal and operational – that the C-suite is expecting. Finding a solution that achieves those objectives, while operating seamlessly across all platforms of the enterprise with near-zero downtime, is difficult, but achievable in today’s “real data center.”
Tiers and Fears
Looking at the Gartner statistic of rapidly increasing virtualization, it’s clear that enterprises and businesses of all sizes are becoming comfortable with virtualization and what it can do. But, as with anything new, businesses rarely place their Top Tier applications into the latest technology, method, or fad; the lower echelon functions of the business will be tested first.
As virtualization grows, many companies are just now putting their Tier One applications in a virtual environment. As they do that, they often find that the protection solutions they had in place may not fit with the needs of the high-priority workloads that they are starting to virtualize.
In a recent survey, 65 percent of IT executives said business-critical apps are a factor in the complexity of their data centers. While virtualization has provided clear benefits, it has also made the data environment more complex. With critical business functions being virtualized in the cloud, IT managers are weary; in that same survey, increased costs, (47 percent) longer lead times for storage migration (39 percent) and downtime (35 percent) were also cited as complex factors in the data center.
Tale of the Tape
Each year we survey the IT landscape in our State of Resilience Report. And, more than ever, 2013 proved that while cloud use is booming, companies are seemingly blocked by fear — using old technologies for backup or delaying migration processes.
The use of tape for data backup (by 81 percent of companies) rose to a four-year high while software-based backup strategies inched up, barley above 50 percent. Similarly, over 60 percent of companies delayed a data migration because of downtime (cited by 47 percent) and lack of resources (36 percent). Four out of five companies prefer to migrate after business hours or on the weekend, presumably due to those downtime concerns. In another survey, organizations employ an average of seven backup applications – most likely unique to specific databases.
Much like those who are afraid to fly, despite the safety-centric statistics, IT professionals need reassurance that there is a better, safer way to move forward.
Flexible, Unified and Simple
Computing has never been more complex, and that trend will continue. In addition to its complexity, the mixed computing environment contains a total cost of ownership. A company spends money on maintenance and renewals on the VMware platform in addition to licenses for Microsoft, and the total cost does make a big impact.
But when an enterprise is utilizing seven backup applications, it’s time to look for a solution that is flexible, unified and simple.
IT executives constantly ask “How am I going to protect my data? How am I going to remain efficient and keep the business running? How am I going to react to the fiscal pressures of the CFO?” The answer is simple – seek a solution that will allow you to grow and meet your needs; one solution over your high availability/disaster recovery that works across all of your environments, a solution that results in near-zero downtime (never more than a few moments) during migration, backup and replication.
A complex business and technology environment needs tools that allow you to determine which workloads you are protecting, which business-critical functions are most safeguarded and how much information you are keeping safe – while staying efficient and not disrupting business operations.
Today’s “real data center” demands a single solution that bridges different systems and makes them operate as a single entity – migrating, protecting, and recovering all your data with simplicity and value. Without a single solution that provides peace of mind – like a smooth non-stop flight to your vacation destination – IT executives will needlessly continue to experience fear and anxiety.