According to recent Enterprise Strategy Group research*, IT has grown in complexity over the past two years, data growth is a major challenge, and virtual server protection is still a pain point for IT professionals. We spoke with Edwin Yuen, senior analyst with ESG, to learn more about what’s driving IT complexity and the state of the virtual server protection market in 2018.
Based on ESG’s research, it’s safe to say that IT isn’t getting any less complex. What are the biggest factors driving IT complexity today?
Andrew, the biggest driver in IT complexity is increased data volumes. We are seeing data growth really impacting IT, both in sheer numbers but also in the variety of locations and forms that it’s taking. Data truly is the fuel that is powering the IT engine, and as digital transformation revs the engine, the needs and consumption for data as the fuel increases.
Could you elaborate on that a little? What applications and/or technologies are driving data growth?
It’s really related to the increase in the number of users and endpoint devices, which drives demand for more applications and different uses of data. Businesses and are using data in new ways including data mining, secondary data, machine learning/AI, as well IoT and more complex image and video processing. And of course, there is the need to integrate both on-premise and cloud-based resources.
Another thing that stood out is that many shops still struggle with virtual server protection. Why is that?
There are several influencing factors in virtual server protection. I think that the days of having specialized software [that only protects virtual servers] is numbered. The market is looking for backup solutions that protect both physical and virtual workloads. And a skills gap has emerged between that demand and IT professionals who have specialized on virtualization-specific backup tools.
Another challenge is that virtual servers and workloads don’t remain static, they continue to grow and evolve. So, backup tools need the capability to protect new workloads, complex multi-server workloads, and deal with the portability of virtual machines.
Do businesses today understand downtime and its costs? Or, do you think they still underestimate a.) how long it can take to recover following an outage, and b.) the extent that downtime can impact their business?
Those are excellent points. With today’s reality, we can, and should, expect everything to fail at some point. Thus, it’s becoming more important to be resilient to failure and focus on how quickly and completely we can recover from an outage.
This is especially important in today’s businesses, where there is little to no tolerance for downtime. Gone are the days where the impacted parties just need to reboot their computer or get a cup of coffee while things are down. For many businesses today, users are both internal and external, so downtime translates directly to revenue loss and has a negative impact business reputation and relationships. So, the need for rapid recovery is critical.
*Source: Enterprise Strategy Group Spending Intentions Survey, 2018