Companies are centralising their data again, spurred by electronic commerce and the rise of the network computer.
According to the third annual EMC-sponsored survey of senior IT executives - which questioned 700 firms across the US and Europe - the number of data centres regaining control of critical servers increased by 11 per cent over the past year to 92 per cent of respondents. The trend reflects a recognition that decentralised data is inefficient, the report says - although the move will almost inevitably require increased IT budgets.
Meanwhile, 68 per cent of organisations said they are working on storing data centrally. They want end users and business departments to request information from central servers rather than let them keep and manage data on local platforms. This enables data centres to ensure there is no duplication of effort and to free up departmental servers to run applications, rather than be used for mass storage too.
EMC?s UK and Ireland marketing manager, Mike Maunder, cited examples of firms with around 200 distributed platforms, each managed by different business departments, with a few storing as much as one terabyte of information locally - much of it duplicated elsewhere in the organisation.
Said Maunder: ?These companies are saying ?we have to take control of how this data is looked after'. All the business wants to know is that the data is right.?
It is for these reasons that organisations are attracted to network computers, which provide virtually no local storage but pull data and applications from a server as required. Almost half the respondents said that central control and centrally managed storage are the top two benefits of this architecture, more significant than the low purchase price, which is often cited as the primary benefit of NCs.
Electronic commerce is also triggering the increased in demand for storage capacity. ?How are companies going to take advantage of electronic commerce if they have data distributed across the organisation? Someone needs to take control of the information,? said Maunder.
Almost half of those polled were in favour of replicating corporate databases accessible by the Internet as a way of improving data security, while 32 per cent of users said they are using their Web sites to transact business or interact with customers.
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