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Inside the 2010 Symantec Disaster Recovery Study

December 9, 2010

Summary

This Tech Brief details how growing IT complexity affects disaster recovery (DR) plans according to region and company size.
The latest Symantec Disaster Recovery Study, released in November, demonstrated that the growing challenge of managing disparate virtual, physical, and cloud environments is making it harder for data center managers to protect and recover mission-critical applications and data. In particular, the study found that protecting virtual systems continues to be a challenge.
Continue reading this TechBrief to learn how growing IT complexity affects disaster recovery (DR) plans according to region and company size.

Virtualization, cloud computing make DR more complex

The 2010 Symantec Disaster Recovery Study revealed that nearly half—44%—of data on virtual systems isn’t regularly backed up. In addition, respondents indicated that 60% of virtualized servers are not covered in their current DR plans. That’s up significantly from the 45% reported by respondents in 2009. Also, only 20% of virtual environments are protected by replication or failover technologies.
According to the study, Canada backed up the highest percentage of virtual systems at 76 %. Korea backed up the lowest percentage at 39%. China had the highest use of replication/failover with 27%.
Companies with 5,000 to 9,999 employees backed up an average of 52% of their virtual systems. Companies with more than 10,000 employees backed up 59%.

Cloud causes security and availability issues

The study found that half of the organizations surveyed use the cloud for mission-critical applications. While security is the main concern related to putting applications in the cloud, respondents said the biggest disaster recovery challenge they face is the ability to make resources highly available. Clearly, organizations need better tools to manage virtual and cloud environments.
China was most likely to consider security to be the main concern of the cloud, with 97% indicating as much. Singapore was least likely at 39%. China was also most likely to consider ensuring availability to be the biggest challenge of the cloud, with 96% indicating as much. Canada was least likely at 16%.
Smaller companies were more likely to consider security the main concern of the cloud, at 73%, compared to 46% of larger companies. However, larger companies were more likely to consider ensuring availability to be a bigger challenge, at 26%, compared to 10% of smaller companies.

The downtime recovery gap

When asked how long it would take them to recover if a significant disaster were to occur that destroyed their main data center, respondents said it would take just over two hours to be up and running. However, respondents reported that in the past 12 months, the average amount of downtime per incident was five hours.
Interestingly, all regions expected to be up and running between zero and two hours.
Korea had the longest downtime, with a median of 12 hours. China had the shortest, with a median of two hours. China reported the most outages in the past 12 months, with a median of 12. The United States reported the least, with a median of two.
Company size had very little impact on the expected duration of downtime, nor did it have a significant impact on the actual durations. However, large companies reported only an average of three downtimes in the past 12 months, compared to seven reported downtimes by smaller companies.

Major causes of downtime

Asked to list the major causes of downtime over the past five years, respondents answered as follows:
  • 72% experienced downtime from system upgrades (50.9 hours)
  • 70% experienced downtime from power outages and failures (11.3 hours)
  • 63% experienced cyber attacks (52.7 hours)
India was most likely to experience downtime from system upgrades at 82%. China was least likely at 54%. However, the duration of China’s downtime events was the longest, at a mean of 60 hours apiece, compared to the low of 12 for Singapore.
Singapore was most likely to experience downtime from power outages and failures at 78 %. China was least likely at 58%. The duration of China’s downtime events was the longest, at a mean of 47 hours apiece, compared to the low of six hours for Singapore.
Singapore was most likely to experience downtime from cyber attacks at 71%. Canada was least likely at 34%. The duration of India’s downtime events was the longest, at a mean of 73 hours apiece. Canada’s downtime events were comparatively low, at only 26 hours each.
Company size had no impact on whether companies experienced downtime due to power outages and failures, nor did it affect the length of downtime. Company size had no impact on whether companies experienced downtime due to cyber attacks. The duration of the downtime from such attacks was much higher for larger companies (39 hours) than for smaller companies (22 hours).

About the Symantec Disaster Recovery Study

Now in its sixth year, the Symantec Disaster Recovery Study is an annual study commissioned by Symantec to highlight business trends regarding DR planning and preparedness. Conducted by market research firm Applied Research West in October 2010, the latest study polled more than 1,700 IT managers at large organizations in 18 countries.
To learn more, download the 2010 Symantec Disaster Recovery Study.

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