Thursday, November 23, 2017

European businesses at risk by failing IT infrastructure practices

Only 16% of application owners are involved in the storage solution deployment process across the enterprise layer.

Businesses across the continent are positioning themselves at risk by failing to profile application workloads and test data storage systems before purchase and deployment.

Nearly six in ten (59%) of companies in Europe do not profile their workloads before buying their next storage system and 44% said they do not trust either storage vendors or their VARs to advise them on the right solution, according to research conducted by the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and co-sponsored by Virtual Instruments.

“Solely depending on vendor recommendations or partners who are aligned with specific vendors could leave IT teams vulnerable,” the companies said in a statement.

This could impact companies in different ways from over-provisioning and wasted financial expenditures to a new storage solution being unable to keep up with the organisation’s business requirements and lead to lost revenues.

A lack of insight into application workload behaviour is compounded by a failure to understand how storage solutions will perform until they’re put to work.

Only 29% of the 412 IT respondents surveyed said they would conduct on-premises load testing themselves before their next storage systems purchase, while another 11% indicated they would work with vendors or partners to conduct load testing before deciding on their next storage system purchase.

“Without understanding how a solution is likely to behave under normal, dynamic, and anticipated peak load conditions, it is much harder to predict whether a solution is correctly configured to manage an organisation’s unique demands. It is also likely to impact overall performance,” the final survey report suggests.

Nevertheless, the survey has also found that 70% of respondents plan to establish service level agreements (SLAs) with their application owners for either performance and/or availability.

For performance, specifically, 43% of respondents will establish performance-related SLAs.

94% of respondents indicated that their organisation ensures performance and availability by using monitoring tools. 54% prefer to use vendor-independent monitoring tools.

Mark Peters, Practice Director & Senior Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, said: “Assuming that upgrading to flash-based storage will solve all data-related application performance issues is a myth.

“Application performance is heavily impacted by the I/O characteristics and patterns employed by the application itself and its interactions with other applications that might be sharing the same, invariably virtualised, infrastructure.

“How each vendor has designed its all-flash arrays to handle the plethora of different workloads varies greatly. Five-fold performance differences or more are not uncommon for the same identical workload.”

Chris James, EMEA marketing director, Virtual Instruments said: “For CIOs, the research showcases the gaps in knowledge that are putting their businesses at risk. But they also show opportunities for increasing insight into how their infrastructures are working, and how they can stop wasting capital and avoid over-provisioning.

“That level of understanding enables higher, more consistent performance, which brings benefits across the IT infrastructure and the wider business.

“For vendors, the results give a strong message about where they should be focusing their efforts. Availability should be a given, it’s performance that matters to customers, and the vendors that enable their customers to establish performance-based SLAs that leverage both load testing and monitoring will be setting the bar for the rest of the industry.”