Virtualization and Cloud Technologies Add Complexity to Disaster Recovery Initiatives
Symantec research reveals gap in downtime expectations and reality
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – November 22, 2010 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced the global results of its sixth annual Symantec Disaster Recovery Study, which demonstrates the growing challenge of managing disparate virtual, physical and cloud resources because of added complexity for organizations protecting and recovering mission critical applications and data. In addition, the study shows that virtual systems are not properly protected.
The study highlights that nearly half – 44 percent – of data on virtual systems is not regularly backed up and only one in five respondents use replication and failover technologies to protect virtual environments. Respondents also indicated that 60 percent of virtualized servers are not covered in their current disaster recovery (DR) plans. This is up significantly from the 45 percent reported by respondents in 2009.
Inadequate Tools, Security and Control
Using multiple tools that manage and protect applications and data in virtual environments causes major difficulties for data center managers. In particular, nearly six in 10 of these respondents (58 percent) who encountered problems protecting mission-critical applications in virtual and physical environments reported this to be a large challenge for their organization.
In terms of cloud computing, respondents reported that their organization runs approximately 50 percent of mission-critical applications in the cloud. Two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) report that security is the main concern of putting applications in the cloud. However, the biggest challenge respondents face when implementing cloud computing and storage is the ability to control failovers and make resources highly available (55 percent).
Resource and Storage Constraints Hamper Backup
Respondents state that 82 percent of backups occur only weekly or less frequently, rather than daily. Resource constraints, lack of storage capacity, and incomplete adoption of advanced and more efficient protection methods hampers rapid deployment of virtual environments. In particular:
- 59 percent of respondents identified resource constraints (people, budget, and space) as the top challenge when backing up virtual machines.
- Respondents state that the lack of available primary (57 percent) and backup storage (60 percent) hampers protecting mission critical data.
- 50 percent of respondents use advanced methods (clientless) to reduce the impact of virtual machine backups.
The Downtime and Recovery Gap
study showed that the time required to recover from an outage is twice as long as respondents perceive it to be. When asked if a significant disaster were to occur at their organization that destroyed the main data center, respondents indicated that:
- They expected the downtime per outage to be two hours to be up and running after an outage.
- This is an improvement from 2009, when they reported it would take four hours to be up and running after an outage.
- The median downtime per outage in the last 12 months was five hours, more than doubling the two hour expectation.
- Organizations experienced on average four downtime incidents in the past 12 months.
Major Causes of Downtime
When asked what caused their organization to experience downtime over the past five years, respondents reported their outages were mainly from system upgrades, power outages and failures and cyberattacks. Specifically:
- 72 percent experienced an outage from system upgrades, resulting in 50.9 hours of downtime.
- 70 percent experienced an outage from power outages and failures, resulting in 11.3 hours of downtime.
- 63 percent experienced an outage from cyberattacks over the past 12 months resulting in 52.7 hours of downtime.
The study also showed a gap between those organizations that experience power outages and failures and those who have conducted an impact assessment for power outages and failures: Surprisingly, only 26 percent of respondents' organizations have conducted a power outage and failure impact assessment.
Quotes and Recommendations
- "While organizations are adopting new technologies such as virtualization and the cloud to reduce costs and enhance disaster recovery efforts, they are currently adding more complexity to their environments and leaving mission critical applications and data unprotected," said Dan Lamorena, director, Storage and Availability Management Group, Symantec. "We expect to see organizations adopt tools that provide a holistic solution with a consistent set of policies across all environments. Data center managers should simplify and standardize so they can focus on fundamental best practices that help reduce downtime."
- Treat all environments the same: Ensure that mission-critical data and applications are treated the same across environments (virtual, cloud, physical) in terms of DR assessments and planning.
- Use integrated tool sets: Using fewer tools that manage physical, virtual and cloud environments will help organizations save time, training costs and help them to better automate processes.
- Simplify data protection processes: Embrace low-impact backup methods and deduplication to ensure that mission-critical data in virtual environments is backed up, efficiently replicated off campus.
- Plan and automate to minimize downtime: Prioritize planning activities and tools that automate and perform processes which minimize downtime during system upgrades.
- Identify issues earlier: Implement solutions that detect issues, reduce downtime and recover faster to be more in line with expectations.
- Don't cut corners: Organizations should implement basic technologies and processes that protect in case of an outage, and not take shortcuts that could have disastrous consequences.
About the 2010 Symantec Disaster Recovery Study
In its sixth year, the 2010 Symantec Disaster Recovery Study is an annual global study commissioned by Symantec to highlight business trends regarding disaster recovery planning and preparedness. Conducted by independent market research firm Applied Research West during October 2010, the study polled more than 1700 IT managers in large organizations across 18 countries in North America, Europe and the Middle East, Asia Pacific and South America to gain insight and understanding into some of the more complicated factors associated with disaster recovery.
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