Businesses Lack Data Protection Strategies for Virtualization: Survey

A Veeam Software survey finds data protection in virtual data center environments lags among cost-conscious companies.

Veeam Software, a provider of VMware data protection, disaster recovery and VMware management solutions for virtual data center environments, released preliminary findings from its first annual report on the impact of virtualization on data protection strategies. Although virtualization is improving IT costs and efficiency, an independent survey of 500 IT directors finds that similar strides have not been made in data protection.

Even though a VM (virtual machine) can be built and deployed in minutes, performing a full recovery of a backed-up VM still takes nearly five hours, according to survey results. Veeam noted this was a "relatively small improvement" in the six hours required to recover a physical server. With the proper tools, nearly half of full server recoveries could be eliminated, the report concluded.

Currently, 47 percent of such recoveries are being performed to recover a single file or application item. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of organizations surveyed said they experience problems every month when attempting to recover a server, and failed recoveries cost the average enterprise more than $400,000 every year. However, only 2 percent of all server and VM backups are tested for recoverability each year, according to survey results.

"IT managers often cite enhanced data protection as one of the primary reasons to virtualize, but the technology holds a huge amount of potential that businesses aren't currently tapping into," said Ratmir Timashev, president and CEO of Veeam Software. "For example, it's well understood that virtualization can reduce the physical server footprint in areas such as off-site disaster recovery locations. However, virtualization can also improve traditional data protection in more profound ways that simply aren't possible in the physical world."

Timashev explained with instant VM recovery, it is possible to reduce recovery time from hours to minutes and it is also possible to recover individual files and application items without restoring the entire machine. "And businesses can eliminate unnecessary risks associated with failed backups by automatically verifying the recoverability of every backup," he added.

According to the survey, 63 percent of enterprises experience problems every month when attempting to recover a physical or virtual server. Testing the recoverability of backups can help eliminate this problem; however, only two percent of all backups are tested annually. On average, these tests are performed once every two months, leaving businesses with up to 60 days of bad backups. Survey respondents said testing recoverability of a single backup takes IT teams approximately 13 hours. A lack of human resources is the top reason (61 percent) why IT departments do not test the recoverability of more backups, the survey found.

Interest in server virtualization among U.S. midsize businesses (firms with 100-1,000 employees) increased significantly in the past year, according to an AMI Partners' June MB tracking study. The survey found the percentage of U.S. MBs that consider server virtualization strategically important has increased from 46 percent to 75 percent. In response to this interest, IT vendors and channel partners have increased their focus on the U.S. midsize business market, providing them with new virtualization solutions.