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Technologies Add Complexity to Disaster Recovery Initiatives

Virtualisation and Cloud Technologies Add Complexity to Disaster Recovery Initiatives

Symantec research reveals gap in downtime expectations and reality

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 organisations 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 of the data on virtual systems is not regularly backed up and only one in five respondents (one quarter in Australia and New Zealand) use replication and failover technologies to protect virtual environments. Respondents also indicated that 60 percent of virtualised servers (47 percent in Australia and New Zealand) are not covered in their current disaster recovery (DR) plans.

Inadequate Tools, Security and Control
Using multiple tools that manage and protect applications and data in virtual environments causes major difficulties for data centre managers. In particular, nearly six in ten of these respondents (two thirds in Australia and New Zealand) who encountered problems protecting mission-critical applications in virtual and physical environments reported this to be a large challenge for their organisation.

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In terms of cloud computing, global and local respondents reported that their organisations run approximately 50 percent of mission-critical applications in the cloud. Two thirds of respondents (94 percent in Australia and New Zealand) report that security is the main concern when putting applications in the cloud. However, the biggest disaster recovery challenge respondents face when implementing cloud computing and storage is the ability to control failovers and make resources highly available (55 percent globally and 93 percent in Australia and New Zealand).

Resource and Storage Constraints Hamper Backup
Respondents state that 82 percent of backups (93 percent in Australia and New Zealand ) 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 hamper rapid deployment of virtual environments. In particular:
• 59 percent of respondents (95 percent in Australia and New Zealand) identified resource constraints (people, budget and space) as the top challenge when backing up virtual machines.
• Respondents state that the lack of available primary storage (57 percent globally, 94 percent in Australia and New Zealand) and backup storage (60 percent globally, 96 percent in Australia and New Zealand) hampers protecting mission critical data.
• 50 percent of respondents (27 percent in Australia and New Zealand) use advanced methods (clientless) to reduce the impact of virtual machine backups.

The Downtime and Recovery Gap
The 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 organisation that destroyed the main data centre, respondents indicated that:
• Respondents expected to be up and running two hours 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 (six hours in Australia and New Zealand) more than doubling the two hour expectation.
• Organisations in Australia and New Zealand experienced on average six downtime incidents in the past 12 months, as opposed to a global average of four incidents.

Major Causes of Downtime
When asked what caused their organisation to experience downtime over the past five years, respondents reported their outages were mainly from system upgrades, power outages and failures, cyberattacks and natural disasters. Specifically:
• 72 percent of respondents (93 percent in Australia and New Zealand) experienced an outage from system upgrades, resulting in 50.9 hours of downtime (27 hours in Australia and New Zealand).
• 70 percent of respondents (63 percent in Australia and New Zealand) experienced an outage from power outages and failures, resulting in 11.3 hours of downtime (26 hours in Australia and New Zealand).
• 63 percent of respondents (53 percent in Australia and New Zealand) experienced an outage from cyberattacks over the past 12 months resulting in 38 hours of downtime locally and 52.7 hours globally.
• Respondents from Australia and New Zealand cited natural disasters such as fires (93 percent), tsunamis (35 percent) and hurricanes (32 percent) as major causes of outages.

Quotes and Recommendations
• “We are noticing an increase in the adoption of new technologies such as virtualisation and cloud computing, with the aim of realising cost savings and enhancing disaster recovery efforts. However, businesses have not yet mastered the art of managing data across these environments, leaving mission critical applications and data unprotected,” said Paul Lancaster, director, systems engineer, Pacific, Symantec. “We recommend that organisations adopt tools that provide a comprehensive solution with a consistent set of policies across all environments. Data centre managers should simplify and standardise so they can focus on 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 organisations 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 minimise downtime: prioritise planning activities and tools that automate and perform processes which minimise 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: organisations 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 organisations 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. This included a sample of 90 Australian organisations and 60 New Zealand organisations.

Resources
2010 Disaster Recovery Report Press Kit
2010 Disaster Recovery Report (PDF)
2010 Disaster Recovery Report Presentation on SlideShare
Infographic: Disaster Recovery? Or Just Plain Disaster?
Webcast: Results and Analysis from the 2010 Disaster Recovery Survey
2010 State of the Data Center Report
2009 Disaster Recovery Report

Related
Technology Brief: Implementing the Right High Availability and Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business (PDF)
Best Practices for Breaking Down the Barriers to Centralised Virtual Server Backup and Recovery (PDF)
White Paper: Five Critical Recovery Flaws Your Last Disaster Recovery Test Missed (PDF)
White Paper: Your Backup Is Not an Archive -- Optimising your backup and recovery environment
Symantec archiving solutions
Symantec data protection solutions
Symantec disaster recovery solutions
Symantec high availability solutions
Symantec virtualisation management solutions

Connect with Symantec
Follow Symantec Storage on Twitter
Follow NetBackup on Twitter
Disaster recovery resources on Delicious
Join Symantec on Facebook
Symantec Connect Business Community

About Storage from Symantec
Symantec helps organisations secure and manage their information-driven world with storage management, email archiving, backup & recovery solutions.

About Symantec
Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organisations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.

ENDS

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