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Most IT departments fail to meet availability SLAs

Veeam survey finds most organisations fail to recover from unplanned outages in the time demanded by SLAs, with average recovery time in the UK being five hours

Most organisations do not deliver on IT availability service level agreements (SLAs) or test backups to see if they can actually recover from an outage. Those are some of the startling findings of a survey by virtualisation backup software provider Veeam.

The Veeam Availability Report questioned 1,140 senior IT department decision makers in 24 countries across a spread of industry sectors in late 2015. Most of those questioned work in organisations with more than 1,000 employees, while around one third work in 5,000-plus employee businesses.

The survey found that 84% of those questioned reported an “availability gap”, meaning that they struggle to deliver what users demand in terms of IT availability, which is a slight rise on the 2014 survey findings (82%).

Putting a finer point on that percentage, the average SLA for recovery time objective (RTO) reported was 1.6 hours. However, few achieve this, with the actual average time to restore systems standing at 3 hours, and that figure rising to 5 hours in the UK.

The survey also asked about the cost of downtime and found that organisations spend an average of up to $16m a year on unplanned outages – a $6m increase on the 2014 survey.

The average number of unplanned downtimes a year is 15, with an average cost per hour for business critical applications of $80,000 ($100,000 in the UK).

Most respondents (68%) said outages affect customer and employee confidence in their ability to do business, while 62% said it affects their brand negatively (73% for both in the UK).

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Surprisingly – given the cost and wider damage of unplanned outages on organisations – a large number of respondents also declared they do not test backup and recovery processes to see if they can successfully recover data following an outage, with only 26% testing a percentage of their backups.

Richard Agnew, Europe vice-president at Veeam, said the contrast between un-met SLAs and the level of virtualisation (89% have some degree of virtualisation) indicated a problem with data protection in the new environment.

“Downtime costs a lot and availability SLAs are broken on a regular basis, but few people regularly test their backups to see if they can successfully recover their data. People are virtualising their environments in an effort to reduce cost, but they also need to move to backup technologies designed for virtualised environments,” said Agnew.

Read more on Data protection, backup and archiving

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This seems to be yet another example of companies valuing profits over productivity. The costs of repairs and recover are often far greater than the initial investments but when you gamble, sometimes you win. And that seems to be enough for far-too-many shortsighted companies.
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