Data center managers feel service pressures

A recent survey reveals that data center administrators in Asia find it tougher to meet service level agreements.

Asian data center managers are facing problems meeting service level agreements (SLAs) due to problems with staffing issues and growing demand, according to the findings of a new global study commissioned by Symantec.

The survey, which polled some 800 data center managers in Global 2000 organizations, found that 38 percent of respondents in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, experienced "more difficulty meeting SLAs" over the past two years amid increasing SLA expectations. Some 85 percent stated that SLA expectations have increased over the same time frame, according to the study.

Sriram Iyer, Symantec's Asia-Pacific director for enterprise sales finance programs, told ZDNet Asia that the rising customer expectations are a result of an increasingly connected world.

Iyer explained: "Information is expected to be available 24 by 7. Even non-critical applications are also raised to the same level of expectations, so this puts a lot of stress on the IT department."

The situation is further exacerbated by other factors, such as increasing expenditures against flat budgets.

About 74 percent of respondents stated that expenditures are growing at a rate of at least 5 percent each year, with 9 percent reporting that figure to be growing at 20 percent or more per year. In spite of rising costs, however, the average budget increase over the past two years stands at just 7 percent, according to the survey.

"This means that organizations are forced to spend larger portions of their limited budgets to keep the business up and running, rather than adding value to the business," said Iyer.

Another factor impacting data center managers is the shortage of suitable staff. Some 57 percent said their data centers are understaffed--a result of the inability to find qualified staff and retain employees. About 71 percent said they have problems finding suitable applicants, and 53 percent face issues retaining staff.

"[Increasing demand] for data centers without an equal growth or increase in qualified staff, is the main reason IT professionals are having difficulty meeting SLAs," said Iyer.

This could be the reason why many companies in the region favor outsourcing, he added. "The growth of data centers makes them too complex to be easily managed, and this is especially so for companies lacking qualified staff," he said.

"As a result, the companies in the region tend to turn to outsourcing to allow staff to focus on other initiatives," Iyer noted. "We find that companies are outsourcing the more labor-intensive jobs that are not as mission-critical, such as storage management, backup and server maintenance."

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