Survey: IT Workers Not Confident in Federal Data Center Reliability

MeriTalk survey finds less than 20 percent of government IT workers are confident in their ability to deliver on SLAs.

Jason Verge

August 21, 2014

2 Min Read
Survey: IT Workers Not Confident in Federal Data Center Reliability

Data center reliability is a top federal agency priority, but a recent survey by MeriTalk found that government IT workers don't have too much confidence in federal data center uptime.

Eighty percent of federal IT workers said data center reliability was a top agency priority, and 42 percent of field workers said downtime has affected their ability to deliver on their mission.

The federal IT space is undergoing massive consolidation while adopting a cloud-first approach. The survey, however, reveals that IT is calling for additional budget and data center capacity. An average agency has half of the storage, power and personnel they say they need to ensure reliability and agility.

Agencies are trying to cut costs and consolidate while trying to maintain reliability. However, the survey reveals that reliability is not being handled as well as it could be.

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed (73 percent) believe it is possible to successfully consolidate while maintaining scalability. Currently, 74 percent of agency systems run on-premise and 26 percent run in the cloud.

While federal IT pros say data center reliability is a top priority, only 19 percent are fully confident in their department’s ability to meet their most critical uptime and failover Service Level Agreements (SLAs).  Tight budgets and legacy technology are a common reason IT workers give for their lack of confidence, according to the survey.

In the past month, 70 percent of agencies experienced downtime of 30 minutes or more, and 90 percent of field workers said the downtime affected their ability to do their jobs. Three quarters of IT pros said reliability has been improved over the last two years, however, with active investment in upgrades, backups and security.

The leading causes of downtime were network or server outages at 42 percent, followed by connectivity loss at 29 percent. Just four percent of incidents were caused by a natural disaster. Sixty-four percent of field workers graded their IT department at an A or B when it comes to recent downtime management, emphasizing the need for better communication as a top priority.

In addition to loss of productivity, one in three field workers admitted to using a personal device while one in four used a workaround like Google apps. Both activities are potential security risks. A number of employees are chosing productivity over security in the event of extensive downtime.

Real-time information access saves the average federal field worker more than 800 hours in productivity each year. That equates to about $32.5 billion in annual productivity savings.

Thirty-six percent of field workers gave their IT departments a grade of C or lower for recent downtime management, and just 29 percent said they believe their IT departments fully understand the effect that downtime has on their ability to work.

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