Symantec has just released its 2008 Disaster Recovery (DR) research report. This is the fourth year that Symantec has issued this report and the overall results are compelling-a real wake up call for enterprise customers who believe disasters only happen to other companies. There'll be more to come on that later, but the press release for the report can be found here.
One big addition to the survey for this year was virtualization. Well, great timing. This is a technology that impacts many aspects of a company's business. It didn't surprise me to see some of the actual results regarding virtualization: 55% of respondents said that virtualization in and of itself would cause them to re-evaluate their DR plan. And, in North America specifically, the number was 64%. Again, I was not too surprised-more validation than anything. In the backup and recovery I see the enterprise going through a re-design of the data center, as well as the DR site and strategies. There are key technologies such as virtualization and disk-based data protection that have benefits that are too huge to pass up.
Again, I was not surprised to hear that 35% of the respondents cited resource constraints as the number one challenge facing them when backing up virtual systems. With more and more data protection technologies being offered today both in the physical and virtual world, it is no wonder companies don't have the resources to cover the management of these solutions. Albeit very useful, multiple tools often mean more to learn and more complexity within an IT organization. There are vendors that really understand this dynamic and end users should look for core data protection and disaster recovery products that focus on automation, ease of use, high availability, and fine-tuning for virtualization; however, the products need to work across the physical world as well.
I was surprised that the number of C-level individuals on DR planning committees has dropped year after year, from 55% in 2007 to 33% in 2008. With everything going on in our country and abroad, I would think that number would either be flat or actually going up.
One last key finding, one that needs to driven home with end users, is that over one third of the 1,000 respondents actually had to execute some part of their DR plan. I speak to a lot of customers who say, "well yes, we have a DR plan, but we don't test it too often, and guess what, the likelihood that it will happen to us is very low." According to these results, it happens, and companies need to start doing more frequent tests to get prepared. Just like the boy scouts, you need to be prepared.