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End-users desire improved DM and DR capabilities, survey finds

The adoption of server virtualisation continues to accelerate as organisations continue to consolidate physical servers in an effort to rein in costs, improve application management and streamline IT operations.

With those benefits comes a myriad of data protection challenges as users discover that legacy platforms are incapable of keeping up with the scale, scope and performance requirements of the virtual world, reports CommVault in the results of it’s Annual End-User Virtualization Survey Emphasising the need for a modern approach to protecting and managing virtual server environments.

In order to keep pace with the data management needs of the virtualised data centre, organisations are re-evaluating protection strategies in search of a better way to protect, manage and recover their environments, the report stated.

The survey found that the adoption of server virtualisation has increased year on year with 34% of the 388 survey respondents stating their server environments were 75% – 100% virtualised.

VMware continues to own the lion’s share of the market vis-à-vis Microsoft and Citrix with 85 % of those polled listing VMware as their hypervisor platform of choice, CommVault said.

Survey respondents also show a groundswell of support for running business-critical applications on virtual machines in their production environment, including application servers (93%), Web servers (84%), databases (72%) and messaging applications (53%).

According to the report, the three most cited primary concerns surrounding the deployment of data protection solutions in virtual server environments were cost, ineffective backups and lengthy and complex restore processes.

In spite of the fact that the scale and scope of VM deployments continues to explode,  a protection gap in virtual server environments remains. Only 35% of respondents said they are backing up all of their virtual servers.

As users continue to adopt and expand server virtualisation, 27% of respondents said that improving the backup and recovery process is one of the top initiatives for 2012. In addition, 18% plan to make use of virtual machine replication for disaster recovery and another 10% said they plan to improve overall operational processes  in managing virtual environments.

In addition to which the survey found that as virtual environments continue to be complex and heterogeneous with products from multiple vendors, integration and interoperability are considered extremely important. In terms of data protection, however, 90% of respondents said they prefer a single backup application for virtual and physical environments.

The survey showed that there is also a need for improved disaster recovery. Forty-three percent of respondents are relying only on backup copies as their disaster recovery plan while 20% rely on hardware replication and 14% rely on software-based replication. 16% of respondents said they have no disaster recovery plan for their virtual environment.

According to the survey, faced with these challenges, organisations are re-evaluating their data protection strategies to accommodate virtual server growth. 43% percent of respondents have already re-evaluated their data protection strategies as a result of their server virtualisation initiatives and another 34%plan such a re-evaluation.

The survey conducted over a 19-day period was sent to 16,508 individuals among CommVault’s worldwide customers, and garnered 388 responses, the company concluded.

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