Symantec announced that 79 percent of organizations globally report increasing complexity in the datacenter, according to the results of its "2012 State of the Datacenter Survey". The survey, which provides insight into the top challenges organizations are grappling with as the datacenter continues to transform, highlights the underlying drivers of datacenter complexity, current impacts on the business, and the latest initiatives IT is adopting to mitigate the issues. While the cause of datacenter complexity stems from a variety of factors, respondents identify implementing an information governance strategy as the main initiative being taken to address datacenter growing pains. The State of the Datacenter findings emphasize the importance of taking steps to intelligently manage organizational resources to rein in operational costs and control information growth.

Forty-eight percent of Indian organizations cite mobile computing as a top driver of datacenter complexity.

"The datacenter is transforming beyond recognition, with the introduction of new technologies into everyday business, and these changes can either act as a sail to catch the wind and accelerate growth, or an anchor holding organizations back," said Anand Naik, MD-Sales of India and SAARC, Symantec. "The difference is up to organizations who can meet the challenges head-on by implementing controls such as standardization or establishing an information governance strategy to keep information from becoming a liability."

Datacenter Complexity Pervasive

Organizations of all sizes, industries and regions report increasing complexity within the datacenter. According to the survey, datacenter complexity impacts all areas of computing, most notably security and infrastructure, as well as disaster recovery, storage and compliance. Indian respondents rated complexity across all areas fairly evenly (4 or higher out of 10) with security topping the list. Fifty-two percent of respondents rated complexity of storage at 5 or more and 53 percent gave a similar rating for security. The average rating for level of complexity for companies around the world was 6.7.

Effects of Datacenter Complexity are Diverse and Costly

Several factors are driving datacenter complexity. First, respondents reported they are dealing with an increasing number of applications that they consider to be business-critical. A whopping 82 percent of Indian organizations said the number of business-critical applications is increasing or increasing greatly. Other key drivers of datacenter complexity include the growth of strategic IT trends such as mobile computing (cited by 48 percent of respondents), server and storage virtualization (47 percent each), and social media efforts (44 percent).

The survey revealed that the effects of growing datacenter complexity are far reaching. The most commonly mentioned impact is higher costs, with 42 percent citing it as an effect of complexity. Other impacts include lost or misplaced data (52 percent), compliance incidents (51 percent), downtime (48 percent) and security breaches (44 percent). Sixty-six percent of Indian organizations said they perform somewhat/significantly worse in Disaster Recovery tests because of datacenter complexity, owing to which over half (53 percent) respondents have less confidence in their DR plan.

The typical organization globally experienced an average of 16 datacenter outages in the past 12 months, at a total cost of $5.1 million. The most common cause was systems failures, followed by human error, and natural disasters.

IT Taking Steps to Alleviate Complexity

According to the survey, organizations are implementing several measures to reduce complexity, including training, standardization, centralization, virtualization, and increased budgets. However, 50 percent of Indian organizations indicated they lack budgets to deal with data complexity. The single biggest initiative organizations are undertaking is to implement a comprehensive information governance strategy, defined as a formal program that allows organizations to proactively classify, retain and discover information in order to reduce information risk, reduce the cost of managing information, establish retention policies and streamline their eDiscovery process. Ninety-six percent of organizations are either discussing information governance or have implemented trials or actual programs.

The biggest drivers for information governance include security (rated somewhat or extremely important by 65 percent of respondents), the availability of new technologies that make information governance easier (58 percent), increased datacenter complexity (61 percent), data growth (39 percent), and regulatory issues (58 percent).

Organizations have several goals with information governance, including enhanced security (considered important by 52 percent), ease of finding the right information in a timely manner (57 percent), reduced costs of information management (52 percent) and storage (54 percent), reduced legal and compliance risks (53 and 48 percent, respectively), and a move to the cloud (50 percent).