Virtualization Complicates DR Plans

Security software firm, Symantec ( has recently released the results from a survey that gives a rather interesting take on how virtualization has been affecting enterprise disaster recovery planning over the past year.

In its fourth annual IT Disaster Recovery survey, the Symantec says there has been a "significant increase" in the number of businesses, at 55 percent, that have been re-considering their disaster recovery plans because of virtualization. In North America, this rises to 64 percent, according to reports on PCWorld.

Adding to the rather startling discovery, the survey also found that 35 percent of businesses said their virtual servers were not covered in their disaster recovery plans and only 37 percent actually backed up their virtual systems, stats that Guy Bunker, Symantec's chief scientist called "ridiculous."

"In the old days, when you had one server running all the enterprise software, DR plans used to be straight forward," said Bunker in an interview with Techworld. "Now the virtual server can be running up to 20 apps, and the server must have the capacity to handle it. DR processes have broken down because IT admins haven't thought of these issues."

The report found that 33 percent blamed the lack of automated tools for backing up a virtual system, while 35 percent found there were too many different tools. Another 54 percent said "resource constraints" were their top challenge with backing up their virtual environments.

Despite these issues, Bunker says this is no excuse for IT admins to "shirk their responsibilities" - which could take up to 20 applications offline when the virtual server fails - especially since there is the option to automate backing up virtual machines on a granular level, instead of the entire virtual machine.

Symantec says the survey also revealed that c-level executives have become even less involved in the disaster recovery planning process, which is "short-sighted" says Bunker.

The security software firm surveyed more than 1,000 enterprise IT managers from around the globe for this disaster recovery report.

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