Only 20 Percent of Business Data Protected in VMs: Survey

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-11-24 Print this article Print

IT managers of 1,700 large enterprises also indicated that 56 percent of data on virtual systems is not even regularly backed up at least once per month.

Virtualizing servers and storage arrays is certainly among the biggest trends right now in the IT world. However, properly protecting all those virtual machines and the data they handle apparently is not among those trends.

Data storage and protection provider Symantec revealed Nov. 22 in its annual disaster recovery survey that only about 20 percent of IT managers are using replication and failover technologies to protect mission-critical data in virtual environments.

"A lot of companies look at backup as their fallback archive, and it's not the same at all [as replication and failover]," Symantec Senior Product Marketing Manager Peter Elliman, who supervised the Symantec 2010 Disaster Recovery Study, told eWEEK.

"It was surprising to us that what often is the most important business data wasn't being protected completely in virtualized environments."

The survey also indicated that 56 percent of data on virtual systems is not even regularly backed up at least once per month.

"Part of that is because some of that data is test dev data, so people feel there's no need to back that up. But in other instances, it's a selective decision about what they [storage and IT managers] want to do," Elliman said.

The study also found that nearly 60 percent of respondents use  multiple tools to manage and protect applications and data in virtual environments, which can cause security problems for data center managers.

Large sampling, worldwide scope

Symantec asked Applied Research West to survey more than 1,700 IT managers in large organizations [5,000 employees or more] in 18 countries and across a span of industries to understand issues associated with business IT disaster recovery.

Two-thirds of respondents -- as is about standard in all surveys of this type -- reported that security concerns are still the main roadblock to deploying enterprise applications in a cloud service rather than on site. Control of failovers and making resources highly available were key issues for 55 percent of respondents.

"There's no question that virtualization and cloud, while they provide lots of benefits to different parts of the data center organization, they do introduce complexity into the DR process, because companies are basically bridging physical and virtual systems, handling data at rest in one location and mixing in cloud stuff," Elliman said.

"The question is: How can they manage all that while feeling confident that you  have the right levels of protection in these niche-type, if you will, virtual or cloud environments?"

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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