by December 1, 2010 0 comments

Shikhar Mohan Gupta with inputs from Indranil Dutta, Lead Analyst, IDC

According to a survey conducted by IDC, the current penetration of data centers in India comes around 54.5%, and around 77% of the large organizations have their own data centers. The BFSI sector leads the way with maximum penetration of data centers at 78%. The data center penetration in 2011 is expected to increase by 8%, with an increase of 9% in medium & 6% in large organizations. This makes it all the more important that proper knowledge regarding the new and emerging technologies along with the pros and cons of implementing them be clear to the people who matter i.e the key IT decision makers.

Issues in Data Center Mamagement
The top most issue in a data center seems to be managing the power and cooling requirements of the data center in a manner which is efficient as well as easy on the pocket. 21.8 % of votes went in favour of this issue. Availability/ redundancy and DR were next on the list, voted by 15.5 % of the respondents. This brings out the fact that maximum uptime along with security of data are of prime importance to the admins. Space limitations along with strong strangle holds on Costs/ budgets are the other key concerns.

Impact of Data Center Challenges

There is a major impact due to the challenges related to data center management. One of these is server/system outage and hence the downtime being faced because of that. This basically stalls all production and hence results in loss to the organization. Hardware damage clubbed with the above factors leads to increase in operational costs. This is a major hit as the IT budgets are anyways constrained for almost all organizations. Some other issues that crop up due to data center management challenges include a constraint in deploying new servers or systems. All these factors result in lowered service to customers which is not exactly what the organizations want.

Initiatives for Data Center Optimization
After having understood all the issues and their impact on the data centers and overall productivity, the key IT decision makers have gone ahead in search of ways and means to optimize their data centers. The new technologies that have come to the fore front are virtualization and cloud computing. Implementation of green technologies along with solutions for power and cooling have been identified as the savior tech.

Virtualization and cloud computing

Adoption of Virtualization is being forcasted to have a 10% jump upto 29.1 % in the year 2010-2011 as compared to 2008-2009. This leads us to believe that more and more companies will soon realize the benefits of it and adopt this potent and helpful technology. Some of the drivers for this increase can be identified as cost savings, ease of management, rapid growth in IT infrastructure improved resource utilization amongst others. But having said that, the adoption has not been of the level that the technology deserves and certainly not in proportion to the potential benefits that it promises. Some of the constraints in adoption of virtualization have been low awareness levels, lack of technical expertise, high maintenance and implementation costs.
The IDC survey states another practical reason why virtualization has not been so widely adopted, which is that there is still some disparity in the % of savings planned (21.49 %) and % of savings actually realized (16.52%). This could well be the reason that people adopt a wait and watch policy for these technologies before implementing them in their enterprise. The same is true in case of cloud computing. Current adoption stands at 4% and is expected to inflate to a mere 6.8 % in the coming months. The wait and watch policy seems to be the way to go forward that most companies have adopted.

Way forward
It has been firmly established that the physical and static data center needs to evolve into a virtualized and more dynamic one to be able to keep up with the times and extract maximum benefit out of new and emerging technologies for the good. Extended use of virtualization, advanced and proactive management, policy driven automation and self service and back up are the steps which can help achieve the change.
In essence, organizations will have to extend their use of virtualization beyond server consolidation to create dynamic shared resource pools across server, storage, and network resources. This must be done in order to provide better utilization, scalability, and agility. This would further call for proactive management of the setup, and policy driven automation that can meet changing business demands.

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