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February 15th, 2013

Symantec, 451 Research, and other Internet security leaders are continually polling IT professionals at organizations worldwide about their operations. A major focus lately has been the “increasing complexity” of data centers. data complexityCrunching the numbers from a handful of the best reports* reveals that about 80% of global organizations are facing this particular challenge, and suffering the consequences. It’s pretty straightforward: When things are complicated, systems malfunction more often and in more ways, and people make more mistakes.

Data center complexity affects all computing categories—infrastructure, security, storage, compliance, and disaster recovery—and the corporate network, as well. Need desktop computer rentals for a room full of telemarketing temps? There’s more complexity right there. Still, your organization’s situation is unique, so the solution will be, as well. If you haven’t given this subject much thought yet, we’ll share some highlights from those 2012 surveys. If the following sounds familiar, you may need to give a bit more time to the subject!

The numbers speak

All ratings are on a scale from 0 (least) to 10 (most) complex, rounded to the nearest half point. Higher numbers correlate with increases in expenditures as well as opportunity cost, human error, and system malfunction.

  • All computing tasks are rated 6.5 or higher for complexity, but security is rated highest at 7.0;
  • The worldwide average rating for data center complexity is 6.5;
  • Organizations in North America rate complexity the highest at 8.0; and
  • Organizations in the Asia-Pacific-Japan region rate it the lowest at 6.0.

In other feedback, 70% of respondents say that business-critical apps, on devices from our iPad rental to basic business PCs, are “increasing greatly.” Planning for complexity growth includes staying abreast of such critical IT trends as growth of data (50%), mobile services (40%), and virtual storage/desktop solutions (40%). As you contemplate upgrading your data center, remember that CRE can help during your transition with workstation and storage rentals for the huge amounts of data you will be managing.

Major impacts, possible solutions

The downside of increasing complexity is considerable, with almost half of global respondents citing higher costs. Other major impacts: reduced flexibility, lost data (and lost time spent looking), longer lead times for everything, and data center outages costing an average of $300,000 per episode. Leading causes? System failures, human error, and, in distant third place, natural disasters.

We are in an era of unrelenting technological progress, from the iMac to the Tesla electric sports car. You don’t “stop” the increase in complexity so much as slow it down to get a handle on it, so the first phase of any complexity-reducing plan will be about making the right choices for your firm’s unique situation. For instance, should you buy, lease, or rent render farms, workstations, and mass storage? The second phase is about reducing the impact of those inevitable system and human errors, and that’s where good training comes in.

Remember, whether or not a data center is running “as it should,” the overarching concern for anyone with valuable data—governments, businesses, organizations, individuals—is security.

A new buzzword

What do managers of complexity-challenged data centers want by way of a solution? Enhanced security such as Cisco’s is mentioned first, by some 80% of global respondents, followed by reduced storage costs, improved compliance and legal status, operational efficiency, and getting the right data quickly.

Is that so much to ask? The drivers of increasing data center complexity are, in the main, well known, but an all-inclusive solution (and buzzword) was lacking until “information governance strategy” caught hold. We’ll tell you in a future blog exactly what that’s all about. Stay tuned!

CRE has everything from trade show convention rentals to office equipment, computers, and high-tech gear for media pros. It’s all just a call or message away, right here at CRE. Know what you need? Then a visit to our Quick Rental Quote page is indicated—and it’s always open, too!

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* Numbers are taken from the following reports (accuracy ±5% after averaging):
- Symantec 2012 State of the Data Center (
- Data Center Knowledge 2011/2012 Data Center Report (
- 451 Research Multi-Tenant Data Center Reports ( 

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