Symantec’s 2008 State of the Data center survey found that data centers are utilizing 50% of their storage.  What a waste! Some see this as clarion call for efficiency.

Surely companies are working to improve this, given how much they spend on storage, flat or declining budgets and continuing growth in data volumes.  

Surely today’s latest technology like virtualization and deduplication are filling this gap, with higher utilization just around the corner.

Sadly, not yet. The trend is towards less efficiency.  Storage utilization decreased from 2007, where Symantec’s survey reported a level of 60%.   

How can that be? 

Management is still more expensive than storage   

Storing, using and protecting data outweigh pruning and organizing it.  It’s a paradox: the more data grows, the less time there is to organize it, which means more storage is needed, which is harder to manage.

In a way, improved data management exacerbates the problem: as data becomes more manageable and efficient, new applications become possible that generate even more data, throwing a wrench in the works. 

The best data centers solve the utilization problem

As hard as it is to fathom, utilization will remain a second-tier issue.  The best-run data centers – those that can get to their second-tier issues – will be able to solve it.   The rest will be happy to be able to store, use and protect all of their data.

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