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August 12, 2014

Workers Lack Confidence in Federal Data Centers Reliability

While federal workers know the importance of real-time information in performing their job functions, most lack confidence in their data center’s ability to meet their most critical uptime and failover service level agreements (SLAs), according to a new survey.

In fact, 36 percent of field workers gave their IT department a grade of “C” or lower for recent downtime management, according to MeriTalk, a public-private partnership, in its report, “The Drive to Thrive: Ensuring the Agile (News - Alert) Data Center.” What’s more, only 29 percent believe their IT department fully understands the impact downtime has on their ability to work.

“Federal field workers are dependent on instant information access to do their jobs — from food inspection and traffic control, to healthcare and disaster aid,” said Rob Potter, vice president, federal, Symantec (News - Alert), which underwrote the study. “Agile data centers— that optimize storage and ensure 24x7 availability, while accelerating virtualization and cloud adoption — are critical for efficient government operations and service.”

The study surveyed both federal workers who spent a minimum of 50 percent in the field as well as federal data center professionals. Analysis of the results compared the workers’ reliance on real-time information with the ability of the federal IT teams to deliver.

Among the findings, 80 percent of federal IT professionals cite data center reliability as a top priority for their agency. However, 42 percent of federal field workers state that downtime leaves them unable to support their agency’s mission.

Interestingly, federal IT professionals are aware of the problem — with 69 percent saying that downtime of more than 30 minutes is unacceptable and only 23 percent giving their agency’s data centers an “A” for effectively delivering the right information and resources to the right users on a daily basis.

It’s a problem that has far reaching consequences, with federal field workers reporting that real-time access saves 17 hours per week per worker, equating to approximately $32.5 billion in annual productivity savings.

IT professionals acknowledge the issue, reporting they only have 56 percent of the data storage, 52 percent of the computational power, and 45 percent of the personnel they need to provide a reliable and agile data center. Greater bandwidth, security, and senior leadership support were listed as the top factors in improving data center agility.

“The Drive to Thrive: Ensuring the Agile Data Center” is based on two online surveys conducted in June 2014. The first surveyed 152 federal field workers with a margin of error of ±7.92 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. The second surveyed 150 federal IT professionals familiar with their agency’s data centers, with a margin of error of ±7.97 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. To download the full study, please visit

Edited by Adam Brandt

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