IT managers making little progress with virtual backup and recovery
Server virtualization and cloud computing have become mainstream components of data storage strategies in recent years - from small businesses all the way up to global enterprises. But as companies continue to make bigger bets on these technologies as a way to manage exponential data growth, very few are confident in their ability to back up and recover data from virtualized environments.
Storage appliance vendor Quantum recently conducted a survey of 500 IT decision-makers from organizations with at least 100 employees. Approximately nine in 10 respondents cited data backup and recovery as a leading challenge when managing virtualized environments. Surprisingly enough, this figure is actually 5 percent more than in a previous Quantum study conducted in late 2010. This would suggest IT managers are still very much battling the virtualization learning curve.
"The benefits of virtualization are well established, and more businesses are looking to extend these benefits to their environments," Quantum senior vice president Robert Clark explained. "However, this survey shows that while organizations are adopting virtualization as part of their data center, they often run into unforeseen challenges with data protection."
As a result of their struggles, several IT managers are failing to take advantage of the perceived benefits of virtualization. Additional findings from the Quantum report revealed that 41 percent of respondents experienced data growth - as opposed to consolidation - after deploying the technology. One in four also suggested that they were forced to re-engineer their existing storage architecture to promote interoperability with the new virtual components - placing a potential drain on IT resources.
These findings are all the more concerning as virtual backup practices cast off their niche status and find their way into the plans of companies across industries and segments. Citing forecasts from analysts at IDC, Virtual-Strategy Magazine suggested that as much as 70 percent of workloads could be carried out on virtual machines by 2016, and within some firms, "physical is the new niche."
But while the efficiency improvements and cost savings may be too significant to ignore, the same can be said of the dangers of unreliable data backup processes. Compressing data and consolidating servers is a priority for many, but ensuring sensitive data is secure and recoverable is imperative for all.
As such, companies would be wise to think twice before abandoning trustworthy tape backups to go all in on virtual and cloud technologies. Any comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity strategy stores data in multiple formats and in multiple locations. When unexpected events take down networks, having an offline, offsite tape backup system could be the only saving grace that keeps a company's data within reach.