Despite the benefits of cloud computing and managed hosting, most mid-sized businesses in the US and the UK spend more than half of their time – 56 percent per month – on server management and troubleshooting, chopping the amount of time spent on value-added activities to a measly 28 percent, a new Rackspace survey has revealed.
Organizations continue to unnecessarily cling to physical servers to the point where managing an in-house environment has become a major “hassle” and despite the availability of cloud and managed hosting services.
The Rackspace Cloud Reality Check survey polled IT decision-makers in 500 mid-sized US and UK businesses about their approaches to server management and related challenges.
Surprisingly, the survey results closely mirror the results of a similar Rackspace survey from November 2009, dubbed No More Servers. The new report found that most US and UK businesses have either made poor progress or have taken a step backward regarding server management, with the majority of respondents – 67 percent in the US – noting they’ve purchased the wrong number of servers compared to the 47 percent three years prior. In the UK, 59 percent of respondents said they’ve either bought too many servers, which wasted money, or bought too few, which resulted in a lack of capacity. That’s compared to 55 percent of respondents in 2009 nothing that they purchased the wrong number of servers.
This overwhelming use of servers has caused US IT teams to spend the majority of their time, or 62 percent in a typical month, on server maintenance and only 25 percent of their time on value-added work. The UK fared slightly better, with UK IT teams spending roughly half of their time on server maintenance and troubleshooting, which was down slightly from 57 percent just a few years earlier. Despite the improvement, UK IT teams are spending an average of 912 hours per year servicing server rather than driving innovation.
And as more time is being spent dealing with servers, the “hassle of managing servers” has increased with 79 percent of businesses in the US and UK fed up with server management, up from 58 percent in 2009. The top complaints regarding on-site server management include hardware maintenance, 53 percent; having to be available around the clock, 50 percent; and the cost of buying and maintain servers, 40 percent.
“Problems associated with having to manage and maintain servers are often readily solved by cloud and managed hosting services,” said Rackspace Cloud Vice President Fabio Torlini, in a statement. “In 2009, one-third (33 percent) of businesses surveyed expected to outsource their in-house servers in the next two to five years. However, over two years later, the new study suggests that many mid-sized businesses are still chained to their servers, and may be spending unnecessary time and money on them.”
But it appears businesses are coming around. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they expect to outsource their in-house servers in the next two years to five years – 40 percent in the US and 35 percent in the UK.
Marriage to servers is presenting challenges for both end users and cloud and managed hosting service providers, but the survey revealed that the cloud and managed hosting market is maturing and more companies will begin moving to the cloud to remove the shackles of in-house IT and server management.
“In 2009, almost two out of five (18 percent) of respondents didn’t know what cloud computing was,” Torlini concluded. “In 2012, everybody does, and is looking at it — the benefits and the issues. The challenge for mid-sized businesses is to stop unnecessarily holding onto their in-house physical servers, and give themselves a chance to focus on more important and valuable work. The challenge for cloud service providers is to provide the right advice and services to help more of them overcome the barriers to doing just this.”