Virtualization, Cloud Technologies Add Complexity to Disaster Recovery Initiatives: Report

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

A Symantec study shows the time required to recover from an outage is twice as long as respondents perceive it to be.

Security specialist Symantec  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 plans. This is up significantly from the 45 percent reported by respondents in 2009.

Using multiple tools that manage and protect applications and data in virtual environments causes major difficulties for data center managers, the study found. 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).

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.

In addition, survey respondents stated that the lack of available primary (57 percent) and backup storage (60 percent) hampers protecting mission-critical data: 50 percent of respondents said they use advanced methods (clientless) to reduce the impact of virtual machine backups.

"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, of Symantec’s storage and availability management group. "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."