Strategic moves needed in datacentres says IBM


Piff: “While cost has been cited by companies as a big inhibitor, the question one must ask is what is the cost of one hour of downtime?”

PETALING JAYA: Only 10% of datacentres in the Asean region are extremely efficient or “strategic,” according to a recent study conducted by IBM Corp and industry researcher IDC.

The study outlines four efficiency levels in the datacentre maturity model — Basic, Consolidated, Available and Strategic — with Strategic being the most efficient stage.

Traits of a highly efficient datacentre include high automation of processes, advanced usage of new technology, limited role of personnel in maintenance tasks, in addition to efficient management of power usage.

In Malaysia, no datacentres were ranked Strategic, with the surveyed companies falling under the Basic (32.26%), Available (38.71%) and Consolidated (29.03%) categories.

However IDC association vice-president of Enterprise Infrastructure, Simon Piff, was quick to point out that the study did not include responses from industry verticals such as automotive, energy and utilities, telecommunications, media, datacentre/hosting and healthcare.

“These are industries which typically already invest heavily in IT and are ahead of curve in the strategic deployment of IT,” he said.

Piff said that the study was conducted to enable organisations across a broader spectrum of industry verticals to benchmark their own data management assets and to pinpoint areas that can be improved upon.

“While cost has been cited by companies as a big inhibitor, the question one must ask is what is the cost of one hour of downtime?” said Piff, adding that this cost, is not something many companies know the true figure of.

According to the study, datacentres that are running at the highest levels of efficiency are able to allocate 49% of resources to new projects, as compared to those that are operating data centres at less efficient levels who can only apply 39% of resources.

In Malaysia, organisations ranked highly in the area of facilities management, datacentre operations, network and governance.

Use of storage technologies was highlighted as the most critical area for improvement.

Andrew Ang, leader for datacentre services and global technology services for IBM Asean, said that with 68% of Asean companies planning significant datacentre investments over the next two years, it is important to incorporate flexibility from the get go.

“Any investment a company makes in this space will have an impact for the next 10 to 15 years and business leaders must consider the end-to-end implications of all layers of the company’s IT architecture,” said Ang.

Ang said good design is an insurance policy that provides flexibility to support new technology. “Vendor and technology tradeoffs can reduce total datacentre costs by 15% to 30%,” he added.

Clients can also save up to 50% of storage architects’ time and 10%-20% of the most expensive storage costs by using policy management and storage service catalogues.

The IDC Asean Datacentre Maturity Model Study was conducted during April and May in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

A total of 180 organisations with revenues of more than US$50mil (RM150mil) were studied, 33 of which came from Malaysia.

For companies that want a quick indicator of where their own datacentre sits in terms of efficiency, IBM has created an abridged version of the survey. To check it out, go to www.ibm.com/data-center/study.

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