October 31, 2007 7:51 AM PDT

Symantec: Virtualization can ease data center woes

Server virtualization and consolidation can help data center chiefs in their struggle with increased workloads and shrinking budgets, according to a recent survey.

The biggest challenges for data center managers are tough internal service-level agreements, continuing data center expansion, and staffing issues, according to research from security specialist Symantec.

Two-thirds of survey respondents said formal internal service-level agreements exist in their organization, and 51 percent admitted having more difficulty meeting those demands in the last two years.

More than two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents said their data centers are growing at least 5 percent per year, while 11 percent reported 20 percent growth or more. But the average budget increase in the last two years is a modest 7 percent, which, adjusted for inflation, means data center budget growth has "been minimal during the past five years," said Symantec.

Server virtualization and consolidation are top options for managing costs, according to the report, which showed that 90 percent of respondents are at least discussing server virtualization, while 50 percent are implementing virtualization, with similar figures for server consolidation.

Data center staffing challenges are "pervasive," the survey said. Nine out of 10 data center managers said they have difficulty finding qualified applicants.

The online survey was completed by 800 data center managers in 14 countries.

Steve Ranger of Silicon.com reported from London.

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