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SLAs being met but most fall short of ‘always on’ backup and restore needs

Veeam Availability Report finds most IT professionals think there is a gap between how fast they can restore data and their requirements to be an “always on” organisation

When it comes to backup and restore, most organisations believe there is a gap between how quickly they can recover applications and how fast they would like it to happen. And most think they currently fall short of where they need to be to be an “always on” organisation.

Those are the findings of the 2017 Veeam Availability Report survey, which also found that most respondents (52%) only have between 10% and 50% of servers virtualised, while 48% have more than half of their servers virtualised. Only 6% have more than 90% virtualised.

Those figures are not dissimilar to last year’s survey, which found an average rate of 44.5% server virtualisation.

The survey – which questioned 1,060 IT management professionals involved in storage and backup, in organisations of more than 1,000 employees – also found that just 61% expect to have more than 50% of x86 servers virtualised in two years’ time.

The survey also asked respondents whether they use the same backup software product to back up physical and virtual environments. Most (60%) use the same for both environments, while 40% use separate products.

Just under one-third (31%) use one backup product, 36% have two, 17% run three backup products and 9% have to manage four.

Despite potentially complicated backup arrangements, with multiple products in operation, most were very confident (15%) or somewhat confident/confident (77%) that they could recover data to their service-level agreements (SLAs).

For “high priority” applications, the largest number (31%) continuously protect data, while 17% do so at a frequency of less than every 15 minutes and 19% between 15 minutes and one hour. For “normal priority” applications, the figures are 13%, 11% and 14%, respectively.

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When it came to how long it takes to restore virtual machines (VMs), the largest number (42%) fall between 15 and 30 minutes, 27% can restore in between five and 15 minutes, and only 6% manage it in less than five minutes.

While most said they could restore within limits set by their SLAs, 82% strongly agreed or agreed that there is a gap between how quickly they can recover and how quickly they need to do so. Most (77%)  said this gap fell short of what they needed to be an “always on” organisation.

The survey also provided some interesting information on unplanned outages.

The largest proportion of respondents (32%) said less than 10% of their servers suffer unplanned outages a year, and 31% said their figure is between 10% and 30%. One-fifth see between 30% and 50% of servers go down per annum.

Unplanned outages

For most (67%), unplanned outages last less than 30 minutes, and for 79% they last less than one hour. But for exactly one-fifth, they continue for more than 24 hours.

The cost per hour is reckoned by the largest proportion of those questioned (24%) to be between $15,000 and $75,000 per hour. For 9%, the cost is $75,000 to $150,000 an hour.

The largest proportion (53%) see loss of customer confidence as a major effect, with damage to brand integrity (45%) next on the list.

Given that the ability to recover is so important, how often do organisations test that they can recover from backups?

The largest proportion (28%) do so monthly, while 22% do so weekly and 13% daily. Those who do so only once a year totalled 10%.

The survey also looked at how organisations protect their virtual machines. The largest percentage (36%) use replication at the storage volume level, while 34% do so via the virtualisation application. Meanwhile, 28% use snapshots at the storage volume level and 26% use hypervisor snapshots.

Just over a quarter (27%) use an agent to protect files in the VM, while 27% use the cloud as a target. ..................................................... .........................................................................................

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