At least 70% of IT decision-makers are looking to centralise applications during 2013.
This is according to an independent survey commissioned by Riverbed Technology, which questioned 400 CIOs in Europe and the Middle East about their spending priorities this year.

In France, 51% of those surveyed indicated that server virtualisation was a primary concern for investment, with 42% citing data centre consolidation as a priority. Additionally, 36% reported desktop virtualisation as a priority, making these three areas the most common CIO spending priorities for 2013.

In France, 67% of CIOs planning a consolidation project reported data security as the key driver for their programmes. Other reasons provided for undertaking consolidation projects included the need to reduce the cost of managing distributed servers at the branch office layer (53%) and a desire for greater control of application and server upgrades (47%).

Risto Wieland, director of IT at Swiss Re explains why his company embarked upon a consolidation project.

“We needed to simplify our network management by consolidating applications back to the data centre and removing as many servers as possible. We chose to implement a wide area network (WAN) optimisation solution from Riverbed to ensure application performance.

“As a result we have removed hundreds of servers from our regional data centres and remote offices, and consolidated 95% of all applications to the two Zurich data centres. This has reduced the amount of time spent on network management which is a huge benefit and both local backups and backups over the WAN are now no longer necessary.”

Darius Kuzma, senior network architect at Swiss Re, adds: “Centralisation has provided even better data security as there is less distributed data. Our disaster recovery procedures have improved, because we can now back-up data centrally rather than backing up locally or across the WAN.”

The study also revealed that the biggest barrier to embarking on a virtualisation/consolidation project in France was complexity, with 49% of those not undertaking a project citing this reason. The costs of initial set-up as well as application performance over the WAN were also reported as concerns by 43% and 34% respectively.

“This study shows that more CIOs than ever recognise the importance of centralising technology and data to gain efficiencies.
“Although for some, barriers must be overcome before they can consider virtualising or consolidating their applications, or removing branch office servers, the results demonstrate that most decision makers understand the cost and time savings that these projects can bring,” says Willem Hendrickx, senior VP EMEA at Riverbed.