Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
According to recent survey conducted by Acronis, small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) around the world are planning to adopt server virtualisation in 2012 at a faster pace than large enterprises. However, the survey also identified widespread backup and disaster recovery shortcomings for virtual servers amongst SMBs. Meanwhile, previous enthusiasm for cloud infrastructure has, at least so far, failed to turn into reality.

IT managers at 6,000 SMBs in 18 countries, including 311 in Australia, were surveyed for the Acronis Global Disaster Recovery Index 2012. They predict that 29% of their servers will be virtualised by the end of the year, a growth rate of 21%. This is 50% higher than the pace identified in a recent Gartner report that predicted virtualisation adoption by enterprises is to increase by 14% over the same period.

Virtual Data at Risk
According to the Acronis survey, SMBs cite increased efficiency, flexibility and speed of deployment as the main drivers for server virtualisation. However, despite the planned adoption of virtual machines (VMs), the survey identified widespread backup and disaster recovery shortcomings, including:
  • A third (33%) admit that they don’t back up their VMs as often as their physical ones (38% in Australia);
  • Almost half (49%) back up their VMs infrequently, typically weekly or monthly (62% in Australia);
  • Just 37% back up their VMs on a daily basis (38% in Australia).

Although VMs seem to get short thrift in the backup and DR department, survey respondents claim that the monetary value of data hosted on virtual servers is almost identical to that hosted on physical servers.

Commenting on the findings, Karl Sice, General Manager - Pacific at Acronis, said: “Virtualisation has become more affordable and relatively easy for SMBs to implement – the high growth rate of virtualisation adoption should not be a surprise. Since protecting data is a fundamental requirement and a best practice for any business of any size today, it’s particularly disappointing that VMs get overlooked. Some businesses are potentially playing Russian roulette with their virtual backups and, if their luck runs out, will face very real consequences that may adversely impact their business.”

A cloudy future?
When asked about cloud adoption, the vast majority of organisations (83%) (86% in Australia) surveyed have some form of cloud-based IT infrastructure, which has grown by 13%. As a specific category, cloud now represents a sizeable 19% of all IT infrastructure. In fact only 19% of businesses are using the cloud today, despite 87% predicting that usage would increase during 2011. SMBs cited several reasons for their less-than-expected cloud usage, including concerns about recovery of data in the event of a disaster, security risks and lack of trust in cloud providers.

2012 cloud usage predictions seem far more grounded with just one in four (26%) (18% in Australia) anticipating that more than 50% of their IT infrastructure will be cloud-based in 2012. Australian SMBs say that cloud adoption this year will be driven by three factors: lower IT operating costs; better quality infrastructure; and additional or flexible storage space. Other cloud findings include:
  • Using the cloud for offsite backup is becoming a popular choice with over a fifth (21%) using it for this purpose (14% in Australia);
  • Almost half (42%) still rely on the traditional approach of physically taking backup tapes or disk offsite each day (28% in Australia);
  • Almost a quarter (23%) still don’t have an offsite backup strategy in place at all (in Australia this rises to an alarming 36%).

Notes to the editor:

The survey was conducted by the Ponemon Institute across 18 countries in September and October 2011. Over 6,000 IT practitioners were surveyed in small- to mid-market organisations with no more than 1,000 seats (no more than 500 seats in Australia). Details of how the index was calculated and where each country appears can be obtained from http://www.acronis.com.au/resources/wp/455.html

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Acronis, Disaster Recovery Index, disaster recovery, virtualisation, virtualization,

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