Businesses still wary of virtualization, study reveals

Some 44% of more than 500 US and European IT directors polled said they avoid using virtualization for mission-critical workloads because of concerns about their ability to back-up and recover data.

Organizations back-up only 68% of their virtual assets on average, according to the survey commissioned by virtualization management firm Veeam Software.

"Despite the prolific adoption of virtualization, when it comes to mission-critical workloads, it is clear that organizations have concerns around data protection", said Ratmir Timashev, chief operating officer at Veeam.

"This isn't surprising, with 63% of respondents admitting that they use a single product to back up both their physical and virtual servers", he said.

But, said Timashev, with this approach, IT departments are still treating virtual machines as physical servers, thereby limiting their ability to use the technology to its full potential. Consequently, enterprises do not have the optimum level of protection needed for virtualized mission-critical workloads.

"Education and a change to virtual world management strategies will address this," Timashev said. "When organizations use dedicated tools for virtual environments, they will find that not only is back-up and recovery faster and simpler, but that there are a host of other data protection benefits."

Just over half of survey respondents said using traditional, physical-based back-up tools in a virtual environment is too expensive, and 40% said recovery was slow.

Most organizations lack the capability to even recover a single file directly from a backed-up virtual machine, with 38% needing to restore the whole machine first and 28% needing to keep two back-ups, one at system level and another at file level.

IT directors are also beginning to re-evaluate their approaches toward data protection, with 61% of those using physical-based tools saying they are changing their approach specifically because of virtualization, while 59% are planning to deploy a virtualization-specific system to deal with their virtual servers.

The reasons given for taking this route are faster recovery (63%), faster back-up (56%) and lower cost (54%).

"Without the correct strategy, organizations will never unlock virtualization's full potential," said Timashev.

What is needed is a change of perspective, he said. Businesses must stop looking at a virtual environment as simply an extension of physical infrastructure.

"Instead, they must realize that virtualization can bring a host of extra benefits to data protection, but only if they change their approach to management," he said.

This story was first published by Computer Weekly

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