Last week, I spoke to Seth Goodling, Americas Virtualization Practice Manager for Acronis, about his company's launch of its Global Disaster Recovery Index, a barometer that measures IT managers’ confidence in their backup and recovery operations.
"We wanted to start a barometer," said Goodling, "that IT peers can use to compare their confidence in their backups, and share what they're doing trend-wise with new technologies, so that they can gauge themselves with the rest of the world. We asked 30 questions in 13 countries—3000 IT pros and managers handling backup and disaster recovery plans."
The survey revealed that although attitudes toward backup and recovery differ widely around the world, businesses everywhere want a single backup and recovery solution for physical, virtual, and cloud environments. The majority (68 percent) of IT managers agree that their greatest challenge in a hybrid environment is moving data between the three environments, yet the average business currently uses at least two or three separate backup solutions, thereby complicating disaster recovery.
Acronis noted several takeaways from its survey.
Readiness. On the global scale, US-based SMBs fell short of the international average, ranking 10th overall for backup and disaster recovery readiness. "About a third of US businesses are entirely lacking the basics of a disaster recovery plan," Goodling said. "They're thinking, 'We’re a small company, nothing can happen to us!' but ultimately they're going to realize that their data is just as important as that of an enterprise." Most of these SMBs cite lack of budget and resources as their primary reasons.
Virtualization and the cloud. Most countries expect to increase their virtual server usage by around 50 percent over the next year. As businesses around the world adopt server virtualization, questions are emerging about system and file backup policies and practices in a hybrid physical/virtual environment. The study finds that the majority of those at the top of the Index place equal importance on regular physical and virtual backups. Without exception, businesses in the low-scoring countries place significantly less importance on the regularity of their virtual backups.
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) claimed that they expected to have some form of cloud-based IT infrastructures in place by the end of 2010. While this rate of adoption seems impressive at first, cloud currently only represents around 16 percent of their IT infrastructure. However, over the next 12 months and by the end of 2011, this figure is expected to rocket upwards by 87 percent across all regions.
"People seem to be jumping in with both feet," said Goodling. "Once they get into the technology, they're getting to 100 percent pretty quickly."
A single pane of glass. Organizations around the world are still struggling with getting some of the basics right. And what makes the world more complex is the fact that organizations are now presented with three different platforms for their disaster recovery strategies: physical, virtual, and cloud. Each platform has its own unique challenges and benefits.
"We're seeing some companies that have as many as five backup plans/solutions," Goodling says. "If they had one solution to back up everything—physical, cloud, virtualization—they'd have the 'single pane of glass' solution that would simplify their efforts."
What SMBs are looking for, regardless of location, is one reliable, easy-to-use solution that spans physical, virtual, and cloud platforms. That way, business continuity becomes easier to manage.
Bad News for America
On a final note, businesses in the United States all scored poorly on their confidence in their ability to avoid downtime in the event of a serious incident. Their confidence in recovering quickly also fell far short of the Index leaders, Germany and the Netherlands. And as mentioned, approximately a third of businesses in United States don't have an offsite backup and disaster recovery strategy in place. Lesson of the day? Make it a priority!