Disaster Recovery Lacking in Virtual Environments

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Enterprises pursuing virtual strategies seem to be placing themselves at greater risk of substantial data loss even as the virtual technology they are deploying simplifies and reduces the cost of disaster recovery (DR).

That's the contradictory take-away from a new survey from Symantec on the state of backup and recovery capabilities in virtual environments. The survey, conducted by Applied Research, showed that nearly half of enterprise data stored on virtual systems is rarely backed up and fully 60 percent of virtualized servers do not figure into DR plans-a one-third gain over 2009. And this is despite the fact that DR now comprises more than a quarter of annual IT budgets.

As we pointed out a few weeks ago, there certainly is no shortage of disaster recovery systems tailored to virtual environments. In fact, virtualization makes recovery that much easier by increasing the portability of both data and operating systems across various hardware platforms. In an age when entire data centers can be hosted in the cloud, this inability or unwillingness to ensure backup of virtual environments is puzzling. As solutions provider CSS points out in a recent blog, the cloud provides a much more flexible DR framework than a traditional backup facility at a substantially lower price point.

Reliability of virtual environments has long been one of the key sticking points when it comes to business-critical applications. In sort of a catch-22, many organizations cite data reliability as the main reason not to entrust virtual systems with vital data, and then point to that very lack of critical data as the main reason not to invest too heavily in virtual DR. But companies like FalconStor are looking to overcome that block by tailoring its availability and DR systems for virtual environments. The company's Network Storage Server (NSS) and Continuous Data Protector (CDP) are designed to provide "five-nines" availability across VMware infrastructure, providing instant recovery of servers and virtual machines, full DR automation and physical-to-virtual replication and failover.

Data is the lifeblood of the corporate enterprise these days, which is why so much attention is paid to providing proper circulation. But serious injuries can and do happen more often than headlines of earthquakes and tornados lead us to believe. In these cases, a robust DR regime can provide everything from an adhesive bandage to a full tourniquet to help restore the patient.

And with virtual infrastructure playing an increasingly vital role in enterprise data infrastructure, you leave it out of the DR equation at your own peril.