Virtualization Data Protection Demands Attention

The typical CIO has an overflowing “to-do” list of items that are virtually all “mission critical.” Inevitably, tasks that literally must be performed to keep the IT enterprise running, such as server Virtual-hardwaremaintenance, take precedence over tasks which are equally critical but do not immediately shut down the enterprise if performed improperly, such as security.

And when you’re talking about a specific subset of security, such as virtualization data protection, then it is almost certain CIOs will first focus their attention elsewhere. Thus it is not surprising, but still an ominous sign, that a new CIO survey from backup, replication and virtualization management solutions provider Veeam Software shows numerous weaknesses in overall enterprise virtualization data protection levels.

Among the survey’s key findings:

  • 68% of CIOs feel that their backup and recovery tools will become less effective as the amount of data and servers in their organization grows.
  • Recovery of virtual servers is only a little faster than that of physical servers, at five and six hours respectively.
  • Regardless of recovery times, enterprises experience problems with more than one in six recoveries.
  • 88% of CIOs experience capability-related challenges with backup and recovery, 84% with complexity and 87% with cost: showing that data protection is still not a simple task.

And recovering individual files and application items from a virtual server environment can take even longer: for example, recovering individual emails takes on average 14 hours. When you consider every hour of downtime costs an enterprise $324,793: meaning that downtime is, on average, costing organizations at least $1.6 million per incident.

Currently, virtual infrastructure accounts for 51% of enterprise servers. However, as business computing becomes more and more cloud-based, this percentage is expected to grow to 63% by next year. Virtualization data protection is rapidly growing from a subset of data security to the main focus of data security, whether enterprises realize it or not.

One sign that enterprises are beginning to recognize this fact is that 58% are planning to change the backup tool used for virtual servers by 2014. Survey data shows the primary driver for this is financial, with 51% changing due to TCO and 42% due to current hardware and software costs. Complexity is a reason to change for 47%, while failure to meet recovery time objectives (32%) and recovery point objectives (24%) are also factors.

CIOs investigating new virtual server backup tools (and everyone should probably at least investigate considering how much more data those servers are probably now holding) should also look into outsourcing their virtual server backup. This type of ITO can be performed literally anywhere in the world, as all it requires is a hosted cloud platform, and produce considerable cost savings. Inadequate data backup does not prevent a company from performing its day-to-day operations until a crash or outage occurs. That’s when the need for robust backup becomes painfully clear.

Vanson Bourne, an independent market research organization, conducted an online survey in November and December 2012 of 500 CIOs from organizations across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France that employ more than 1,000 people