Data Managers Take Up the Fight Against Enterprise System Complexity

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Today’s successful organizations are data-driven, and many are building, maintaining, and accessing databases that scale well beyond the terabyte range. In fact, many have total data assets that now measure in the petabytes. But it’s not just the size of databases that is expanding. The increasing complexity of database environments is straining IT resources at most organizations, reducing agility, and increasing the costs and challenges associated with maintaining the performance and availability of business-critical systems.  To address these challenges, virtualization and automation across all vital portions of the IT stack—from servers to databases—are widespread and their growth is accelerating. In addition, private cloud deployments are gaining a stronger foothold among data environments at this time, while public cloud services are beginning to make inroads. 

These are the takeaways of a new survey of 224 members of the Independent Oracle Users Group, fielded by Unisphere Research in partnership with Dell EMC and VMware. Respondents came from organizations of all sizes and across various industries (“The Empowered Database: 2016 Enterprise Platform Decision Survey,” October 2016).

Many IT departments are mired in day-to-day, mundane tasks, such as coding, provisioning, monitoring, and backup. To deliver a competitive edge to the business, they need the time and resources to focus on forward-looking initiatives.

The study finds that increasing database licensing and support costs, or the belief that these costs will increase, are holding back data managers from expanding their database assets to keep up with business growth. This is a challenge that causes the most pain for data managers and professionals, with three in five rating this problem as severe. The administrative aspects and related complexity of today’s data environments weighed in at No. 2, cited by one-third of respondents. Dealing with database vendor support was also cited by the same percentage of respondents. A shortage of skills also holds back database expansion. Security rounds out the top five concerns in terms of severity, a deep worry for close to one-third of managers.

Overall, across all aspects of production environments, most respondents have plans for expanding their virtualization. Two in three respondents indicate they have plans for extending virtualization sometime within the next 2 years. Forty-one percent expect to have increased virtualization across production platforms over the next 12 months.

Plus, while traditional modes of data storage dominate, there’s a rising class of solutions that promise greater speed, capacity, and access. One in four enterprises now maintains software-defined data centers, revolutionizing the way infrastructures are built and maintained.

At least 8% of respondents to this survey consider their data centers to be completely virtualized. Even more striking is the fact that another 34% of enterprises intend to reach this stage within the next 24 months. By 2018, some 42% of the enterprises in this survey either will be completely end-to-end virtualized or intend to be there at that point.

Respondents were asked about the benefits of virtualization to date. Cost reduction topped the list, expressed by a majority (53%) as the greatest benefit so far. Data executives and professionals are able to demonstrate savings as a result of their data virtualization initiatives—an important selling point to management. The virtualization process has been underway for a decade in many organizations, and as a result, its impact is starting to be felt in a significant way.

Greater systems agility is also emerging as a key benefit. This means the ability to provision the right services or applications at the right time, as the business demands. If a new product line is introduced, the database infrastructure is ready to support it, with the additional capacity, security, or functionality it needs.