March 9, 2010 – Data center management practices in Europe need improvement, according to survey results from market research firm IDC.

The survey report, “IDC European Datacenter Management Survey 2010,” demonstrates that European companies are focused on the wrong areas of their data center to achieve optimization.

“Companies are still too focused on areas such as software licensing costs, but to get an optimized data center they need to focus more on people, effectiveness and cost,” Chris Ingle, associate vice president of consulting at IDC said.

Only 30 percent of companies see data center operational cost as a priority, according to the report.

IDC believes that CIOs need to emphasize a reduction in data center operational costs and demonstrate how investment in their data center will contribute to overall business success, Nathaniel Martinez, program director in IDC's systems and infrastructure group was quoted to say. "Data center managers are much more concerned with finding suppliers that can address the security and availability problems they are experiencing than with ensuring that their data center meets the requirements of their business.”

The rapid growth of virtualization in these businesses has changed the nature of management, introducing new challenges and concerns and causing some businesses to take pause, according to Ingle. Integration – the ability to integrate server, storage and network management – was cited by 31 percent of respondents as the primary concern.

Virtualization changes both what is being managed in the data center and how it is managed, Giorgio Nebuloni, research analyst in IDC's systems and infrastructure group said. “CIOs are grappling with the consequences of virtualization. While the benefits are clear, the impact on management is proving to be a challenge, new models for management will be needed to ensure that virtualization continues to contribute positively to the data center.”

One major impact is that attaining a single view across the entire stack and simultaneously managing both physical and virtual assets has become a challenge, Ingle reported.

CIOs should look toward new management models as virtualization continues to alter the data center market, including self-service, increased automation and giving users greater flexibility in provisioning resources, said Ingle.

Automation was recognized as highly important for cost reduction and improved alignment by 69 percent of the survey respondents. However, it is implemented differently in different organizations and typically not widely across infrastructure.

Virtualization and automation are providing the European data center market with new ways to reduce costs and free up resources, but CIOs still have significant potential to reduce costs by improving management, said to Chris Ingle, associate vice president of consulting at IDC. “There is no right way to do this stuff. And, there are lots of different approaches that can work.”

Ingle says that the European market compared to the U.S. is a bit behind in some of the technologies. Europe tends to have smaller sites than the U.S., but there is little difference overall.

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