Enterprises are still not experiencing the full benefits that virtualisation brings to data protection, with capabilities, complexity and cost all affecting implementations. 
Indeed, in a number of areas enterprises’ data protection capabilities have actually diminished since 2011.
This is one of the findings from Veeam Software’s annual Virtualisation Data Protection Report. It is Veeam’s third study into the impact of virtualisation on data protection, backup and recovery strategies, polling 500 CIOs across the US and Europe.
Key findings of the research include:
* 68% of CIOs feel that their backup and recovery tools will become less effective as the amount of data and servers in their organisation grows.
* Recovery of virtual servers is only a little faster than that of physical servers, at five and six hours respectively. This is actually worse than in 2011, when recovery took four and five hours.
* Every hour of downtime costs an enterprise $324,793, meaning that downtime is, on average, costing organisations at least $1,6-million per incident.
* Recovering individual files and application items can take even longer; for example, recovering individual e-mails takes on average 14 hours.
* Regardless of recovery times, enterprises experience problems with more than one in six recoveries.
* 88% of CIOs experience capability-related challenges with backup and recovery, 84% with complexity and 87% with cost, showing that data protection is still not a simple task.
* 58% of CIOs are planning to change their backup tool for virtual environments by 2014.
* Currently, virtual infrastructure accounts for 51% of enterprise servers, with this expected to grow to 63% in 2014.
CIOs are not blind to the data protection issues these growing virtual infrastructures present: 88% of CIOs identified capability challenges affecting their ability to backup and recover virtual servers, while 84% recognised complexity challenges and 87% cost issues.
Similarly, 77% of those enterprises using agent-based backup tools were experiencing problems or management issues with the technology. These included excessively complex management (43%), backups failing too often (32%), restores failing too often (28%), the cost of the technology (20%) and agents slowing the performance of servers (18%).
One sign that enterprises are beginning to recognise this is that 58% are planning to change the backup tool used for virtual servers by 2014. The primary driver for this is financial, with 51% changing due to total cost of ownership and 42% due to current hardware and software costs.
Complexity is a reason to change for 47%, while failure to meet recovery time objectives (32%) and recovery point objectives (24%) are also factors.
Ratmir Timashev, president and CEO of Veeam Software, says: “At first glance, the fears of CIOs look to be correct: despite the potential for faster, more efficient data protection that virtualisation offers and the advances modern data protection tools can provide, recovery times have increased since 2011. This apparent loss of momentum in data protection comes down to two influences.
“First, virtual infrastructure is constantly growing: as well as forming the majority of IT infrastructure now, it will continue to grow in the future.
“Second, organisations are not updating their data protection tools and strategies to match. For example, the majority of enterprises still deploy agents for backup and recovery. This approach works for physical environments but is unnecessary and ill-suited to the virtual infrastructure. Until organisations stop using a physical-world mind-set to view the technology, they will never be able to unlock its full potential.
“Virtualisation is reaching a turning point. Organisations have realised the benefits that the technology can bring on its own: now they are beginning to find out what it is truly capable of when managed and applied correctly. Modern data protection tools, specifically built for virtualisation, can unlock this potential as well as eliminate many of the capability, complexity and cost issues IT departments face.
“For example, reducing the cost of techniques such as replication allows enterprises to protect far more of their vital infrastructure from server downtime, saving millions of dollars in the process.
“Virtualising recovery means enterprises can test more of their backups, rather than the mere 7% regularly tested at present. Most importantly, using the appropriate tool for the job means that CIOs can recover either individual items or entire servers in far less than five hours.”