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Survey finds data protection problematic even in modern data centers

Companies still find it difficult to achieve data protection goals, and downtime costs keep growing, according to a trio of vendor-sponsored surveys.

There are more products, services and technologies for protecting data than ever before. Still, several recent surveys show organizations fail to achieve the level of data protection they require and that data loss costs them money.

Three surveys came out this week that focused on the challenges IT departments face in minimizing data loss and reducing downtime costs. EMC Corp.'s Global Data Protection Index survey found that data loss and downtime cost enterprises $1.7 trillion in the last 12 months or the equivalent of nearly 50% of Germany's GDP.

The Veeam Data Center Availability 2014 report, conducted by market research firm Vanson Bourne, which also conducted EMC's survey, found more companies continue to fall further behind their service-level agreements even as companies modernize their data centers.

In a more targeted survey, cloud backup and DR provider Zetta.net found that 48% of its 200 respondents experienced problems in trying to recover data even with mature bare-metal restore (BMR) technology.

EMC's Global Data Protection Index survey involved 3,300 IT decision makers from mid- to enterprise-size businesses worldwide. The survey found that 51% of businesses lack a DR plan for big data, mobile or hybrid cloud workloads, and only 6% have a DR plan for all three. According to the survey, data loss has grown by 400% since 2012. It also showed that 30% of primary data is located in some form of cloud storage, and 71% of organizations are not fully confident in their ability to recover after a disruption.

The impact of data loss, according to the survey, was that 64% of enterprises experienced data loss or downtime over the last year for an average of 25 hours of unexpected downtime. Thirty-six percent reported loss of revenue and 34% said product development was delayed because of downtime.

The Veeam Data Center Availability report, which involved 760 IT decision makers from worldwide organizations, found organizations experience downtime an average of 13 times and backup recovery failure twice a year. Backup failures cost organizations at least $682,182 per year.

The Veeam survey found that organizations were generally meeting their recovery time objective (RTO) but not their recovery point objective (RPO). Mission-critical applications take an average of 2.86 hours to recover against an RTO of 2.69 hours. Non-mission critical apps average 8.45 hours to recover against an average RTO of 10.02 hours. Mission-critical apps are backed up every 4.81 hours against an RPO of 3.53 hours and non-mission critical apps get backed up every 14.46 hours against an RPO of 11.53 hours, showing risk of data loss because of the lag times between RPO and actual backups.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said they had a gap between the level of availability they can provide and what end users demand.

Almost all of the companies participating in the Veeam survey said they plan to upgrade their storage (94%) or data protection and disaster recovery technology (93%) within two years.

One technology that is commonly being replaced is BMR, according to the Zetta.net survey of more than 200 IT professionals. While 34% said they had used bare-metal restore at some point, only 23% said they still use it. Nearly half (48%) of those who used it reported problems while trying to perform a restore. These problems included dissimilar hardware (36%), corrupt backup (35%) and driver failures (24%).

Vendors spin the data

Guy Churchward, president of EMC's Core Technologies Division -- which includes data protection -- said he was surprised by the EMC survey's finding that 30% of primary data is in a cloud. He said he was not surprised that the survey showed businesses using more than two vendors for data protection lose three times as much data and were likely to spend $3 million more on data protection than those who use one vendor. Churchward said those findings are positive for EMC because it sells more types of backup and DR hardware and software than any other company.

"Siloed adoption of data protection is harming businesses," he said. "It's more expensive to have multiple vendors, and you have three times more data loss."

Zetta.net execs said their study persuaded them not to get into BMR as a complement to their cloud services.

"Based on customers' reactions, we decided not to develop a bare-metal recovery solution," said Gary Sevounts, Zetta.net's chief marketing officer. "Overall, the industry is moving away from BMR."

Laura Knight, Zetta.net's content marketing manager, added that virtualization is making problems with bare-metal recovery moot.

"The trend is that virtualization is going to eliminate BMR," she said. "In the comments box, several times people said they did not know what BMR was."

News director Dave Raffo contributed to this article.

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