Critical Read

Survey pinpoints data-storage concerns

data center cages

What: A NetApp-commissioned survey of IT decision makers and experts at federal agencies and systems integrators examining concerns about data storage. The survey was conducted by research firm Market Connections.

Why: System downtime is a big deal, whether it is planned or unplanned, especially for mission-critical systems that rely on an always-up IT infrastructure. The study examines the top data storage concerns among federal IT pros, chief among them data security itself: 59 percent felt data security was the biggest concern. Data loss, insufficient budget to meet mission needs, unplanned downtime and a lack of sufficient disaster recovery rounded out experts’ biggest concerns.

Interestingly, 34 percent of respondents reported experiencing “one day or more” of unplanned downtime over the past 12 months. Such a high percentage experiencing downtimes surprised NetApp U.S. Public Sector President Mark Weber, but he said unexpected downtimes can often be attributed to human error, not just technology. In addition, unplanned downtime at respondents’ organizations most often lasted zero to five hours. For large-scale agencies or government programs, five-hour downtimes could present serious problems for the public.

The survey also touches on data storage advancements such as software-defined storage and further explains the ramifications – in lost good will among customers and in a dollars-and-cents business approach – of poor data storage methods and downtimes.

Verbatim: “As IT infrastructures become more mission-critical and systems become increasingly complex, downtime becomes more disruptive to essential business operations. And then there are the network and power outages that cause unplanned downtime and data loss. Simply put, the risks associated with disruptions in service are too high. But downtime is a fact of life because applications and software require routine upgrades and maintenance to deliver the newest technologies.

“To ensure innovation, government agencies and systems integrators are collapsing data centers with the goal of saving money and building agile operations. In many instances, multiple departments share the same infrastructure, complicating scheduled downtime and making system refreshes and upgrades a challenge.”

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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