Virtualization may be all the rage in the data center, but protecting all the data that accumulates on virtual systems is increasingly costly, complicated and time-consuming, a new study finds. Worse still, applying old backup and recovery technologies built for physical servers to a virtual environment threatens to exacerbate the problems.
According to Veeam Software Inc.’s Virtualization Data Protection Report 2013, organizations are failing to get the full benefits of virtualization and, in a number of areas, data protection has actually gotten worse since the virtualization management firm’s last VDPR issued in late 2011.
Despite the growth of virtual machines in the enterprise, which now account for 51 percent of deployed business servers and are expected to grow to 63 percent by 2014, a vast majority of CIOs say their backup and recovery tools just aren’t keeping pace. Of the polled CIOs, 68 percent say the tools they currently deploy are less effective as the amount of data and the number of virtual servers in their organization grows.
The Veeam research also finds that recovery of virtual servers has become almost as time-consuming as that of physical servers — at 5 and 6 hours respectively — fully one hour longer in each case than the researchers found in 2011. Each hour of downtime costs an average of $324,793, putting the cost at around $1.6 million per incident, the study finds.
Those dollar figures are just for uncomplicated server restorations; recovering individual files and application items takes up to 14 hours, and business users experience problems with more than one of every six attempted data recoveries, respondents said.
“Despite the potential for faster, more efficient data protection that virtualization offers and the advances modern data protection tools can provide, recovery times have increased since 2011,” said Veeam President and CEO Ratmir Timashev.
The loss of data protection momentum can be attributed to two things, Timashev said. “Virtual infrastructure is constantly growing, [but] organizations are not updating their data protection tools and strategies to match. For example, the majority of enterprises still deploy agents for backup and recovery.
“This approach works for physical environments but is unnecessary and ill-suited to the virtual infrastructure,” he said. “Until organizations stop using a physical-world mind-set to view the technology, they will never be able to unlock its full potential.”
In fact, 77 percent of CIOs in the study agree with Timashev’s assessment, saying agent-based backup tools were resulting in excessively complex management, failed backups and restorations, high costs and diminished server speed and performance. Some 58 percent say they are planning to change the backup tool used for their virtual servers by 2014, according to the survey.
“Virtualization is reaching a turning point. Organizations have realized the benefits that the technology can bring on its own, and now they are beginning to find out what it is truly capable of when managed and applied correctly,” Timashev saidd. “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.
“Virtualizing recovery means enterprises can test more of their backups, rather than the mere 7 percent regularly tested at present. Most importantly, using the appropriate tool for the job means that CIOs can recover either individual items or entire servers in far less than 5 hours.”
The survey, conducted by the independent market research group Vanson Bourne, polled 500 CIOs from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France representing businesses with more than 1,000 employees. The entire report can be downloaded here.
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