Survey: DR plans slipping through the cracks

January 13, 2010 -- I happened to be on the phone with Symantec last week to discuss the results of their annual State of the Data Center Study when an earthquake shook California. In my mind, the event reiterated the need for frequent testing of disaster recovery (DR) plans. That's why I was surprised to learn that a growing number of users are letting DR plans go untouched for long periods of time.

Once the quake subsided, Matthew Lodge, a senior director with Symantec's information management group, told me that DR plans are vulnerable and have become a victim of a decrease in funding.

According to the Symantec 2010 State of the Data Center Study, which is based on surveys of 1,780 data center managers in 26 countries in November 2009, there is room for improvement in disaster recovery.

One-third of those surveyed said their DR plans are undocumented or need work and important IT components, such as cloud computing, remote office and virtual servers are often not included in the DR plan. To make matters worse, almost 33% of enterprises haven't re-evaluated their disaster recovery plan in the last 12 months.

"One of the hardest hit areas of the data center in terms of funding is disaster recovery," said Lodge. "A lot of companies haven't refreshed or reevaluated their DR plan in quite some time."

It seems IT staffers are focusing their efforts elsewhere. The survey revealed the top concerns in the data to be increased complexity and too many applications.

One-third of all enterprises say staff productivity is hampered by too many applications. Adding to the complexity is the continued increase in data causing 71% of organizations to consider data reduction technologies such as deduplication, according to Symantec.

Most enterprises have 10 or more data center initiatives rated as somewhat or absolutely important and 50% expect "significant" changes to their data centers in 2010.

Lodge said 50% of all enterprises say applications are growing somewhat/quickly and half are finding it difficult and costly to meet service level agreements (SLAs).

Mid-sized enterprise data centers are weathering the storm best. Lodge said mid-sized enterprises are more agile, show more activity, and predict major changes to the data center and new applications in 2010. Mid-sized enterprises also place a higher importance on staffing and training than their small or large enterprise counterparts.

Mid-sized enterprises are more aggressive and pioneering than either small or large enterprises. They are adopting new technology initiatives such as cloud computing, replication, and deduplication at 11-17 percent higher rates than small or large enterprises.

Not surprisingly, Symantec's answer to the aforementioned challenges is software. "Let the software help you out. Users need to look for more areas of integration and need to adopt an automated, policy-based approach to management rather than going for a raft of individual tools for the data center," Lodge said.

Some additional tidbits from the Symantec 2010 State of the Data Center Study:

Security, backup and recovery, and continuous data protection are the most important initiatives in 2010, ahead of virtualization.

Staffing and budgets remain tight with half of all enterprises reporting they are somewhat/extremely understaffed.

Virtual machine protection continues to be a focus for enterprises, with 82% of enterprises considering virtual-machine technologies in 2010

Check out the InfoStor disaster recovery page for the latest news and view on the state of DR.

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posted by: Kevin Komiega

Kevin Komiega, Senior Editor
by Kevin Komiega
Senior Editor

Kevin Komiega has been the Senior Editor of InfoStor since 2005. He was previously a senior news writer with SearchStorage.com and held a position as a public relations account executive with Porter Novelli, Boston. Kevin also spent four years running tape backup operations at the University of Rhode Island's Academic Computer Center. He can be contacted at kkomiega@quinstreet.com.

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