Virtualized Backup, Recovery Pose Challenges for Businesses

Organizations must change their approach to implementing backup and recovery tools for virtual environments, as virtualized infrastructure continues to grow.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of CIOs feel that their backup and recovery tools will become less effective as the amount of data and servers in their organization grows, according to virtualization and backup specialist Veeam Software’s annual Virtualization Data Protection Report.

Currently, virtual infrastructure accounts for 51 percent of enterprise servers, and this is expected to grow to 63 percent in 2014. Worryingly, the vast majority (88 percent) of CIOs are already experiencing capability-related challenges with backup and recovery; 84 percent with complexity and 87 percent with cost.

The results of the study, which surveyed 500 CIOs from organizations in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France, indicated every hour of downtime costs an enterprise $324,793, meaning that downtime is, on average, costing organizations at least $1.6 million per incident. Recovery of virtual servers is only a little faster than that of physical servers, at five and six hours, respectively--worse than in 2011, when recovery took four and five hours.

"This apparent loss of momentum in data protection comes down to two influences. First, virtual infrastructure is constantly growing: as well as forming the majority of IT infrastructure now, it will continue to grow in the future," Veeam president and CEO Ratmir Timashev said in a statement. "Second, organizations are not updating their data protection tools and strategies to match. Until organizations stop using a physical-world mindset to view the technology, they will never be able to unlock its full potential."

The survey found 58 percent of CIOs were planning to change their backup tool for virtual environments by 2014. The primary driver for this appears to be financial, with 51 percent changing due to total cost of ownership and 42 percent due to current hardware and software costs. Complexity was a reason to change for 47 percent of respondents, while failure to meet recovery time objectives (32 percent) and recovery point objectives (24 percent) were also factors.

"Virtualization is reaching a turning point. Organizations have realized the benefits that the technology can bring on its own: now they are beginning to find out what it is truly capable of when managed and applied correctly. Modern data protection tools, specifically built for virtualization, can unlock this potential as well as eliminate many of the capability, complexity and cost issues IT departments face," Tismashev continued. "For example, reducing the cost of techniques such as replication allows enterprises to protect far more of their vital infrastructure from server downtime, saving millions of dollars in the process. Virtualizing recovery means enterprises can test more of their backups, rather than the mere 7 percent regularly tested at present."

More than three-quarters (77 percent) of enterprises using agent-based backup tools were also experiencing problems or management issues with the technology. Challenges included excessively complex management (43 percent), backups failing too often (32 percent), restores failing too often (28 percent), the cost of the technology (20 percent) and agents slowing the performance of servers (18 percent).