According to the 2012 survey, 79 percent of organizations reported the challenge of increasingly complex data centers.
Conducted in March this year, 2,453 IT professionals at organizations in 34 countries responded to Symantec's survey. These included staff in operations, IT planning and management.
While data center complexity has been impacted by new technology, changes in business practices due to the state of the global economy and the changing face of data, the survey has underpinned a number of core factors for increasingly unmanageable or inefficient systems.
The survey says that out of 10, 6.6 or higher was the average level of complexity reported by companies -- the Americas rating at 7.8, and Asia-Pacific/Japan coming in at the lowest rating of 6.2.
According to the survey, data center complexity is down to an increasing number of applications that they consider to be "business-critical". 65 percent said that these apps are becoming more demanding, which is driving more complex and sophisticated -- or convoluted -- data centers. In addition, other factors are to blame; 44 percent cited mobile computing, 43 percent said it was down to server virtualization, and 41 percent blamed public cloud services.
Nearly half of survey respondents said that increasingly complex data centers result in higher costs. Reduced agility was also an affect of complex systems (39 percent), as were longer lead times for storage migration (39 percent) and provisioning storage (38 percent), security breaches (35 percent), and downtime (35 percent).
Systems failures, human error and natural disasters were cited as primary reasons for service outages over the past year, at an estimated global cost of $5.5 million.
But what measures are companies taking to reduce the problem? Almost every respondent said that talks were taking place over information governance -- formal programs that reduce the cost of managing and retaining data -- and 63 percent are thinking about boosting budgets to streamline their centers.
Brian Dye, vice president of the Information Intelligence Group, Symantec, said:
"As today's businesses generate more information and introduce new technologies into the data center, these changes can either act as a sail to catch the wind and accelerate growth, or an anchor holding organizations back.
The difference is up to organizations, which 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."
Symantec has recommended that companies analyze the IT assets they have, in order to cut costs and risk. In addition, backup programs should be reduced to the bare essentials, software should be used to simplify backup across physical and virtual machines, and high-ROI projects like data loss prevention should take priority.