Firms don't expect data loss in virtual environment

Among organizations running virtualized storage environments, 40 percent have experienced data loss in the past year, even as 80 percent believe operating such environment reduces their risk.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Most organizations believe storing data in virtualized environments have little risk of data loss, but 40 percent in fact have experienced data loss.  

According to a survey conducted by data recovery vendor Kroll Ontrack, 80 percent of respondents did not believe they were at risk or believed they would reduce the risk of data loss when they stored data in a virtual environment. However, 40 percent that virtualized their storage had experienced data loss in the past year. 

It is erroneous to believe virtual environments are inherently safer, says Kroll Ontrack.

The survey polled 724 IT professionals in August, 223 of whom took the survey at the VMworld conference in San Francisco, which was hosted by virtualization vendor VMware. Among the respondents, 466 from EMEA and 35 from the Asia-Pacific region responded online. 

Some 84 percent of respondents were tapping virtualization for storage, with almost one-third deploying 75 percent or fully virtualized storage environment. While 40 percent of operated such environments had experienced at least one incident of data loss in the past year, this figure was lower than the 65 percent who said likewise in 2011. 

In fact, 52 percent believed virtualizing their storage reduced their risk of data loss. Jeff Pederson, Kroll Ontrack's manager of data recovery operations, said in the report: "It is erroneous to believe virtual environments are inherently safer or at less risk for data loss than other storage mediums. Virtual data loss can result from a range of causes, including file-system corruption, deleted virtual machines, internal virtual disk corruption, RAID, and other storage and server hardware failures, and deleted or corrupt files contained within virtualized storage systems."

Pederson warned that data loss in such environments were likely to be more serious because the volume stored in virtual environments is much greater than those stored in a single physical server or storage device.

The survey found that only 33 percent of respondents were able to fully recover lost data, 21 percent lower than the findings in 2011 when 54 percent were able to do so. The remaining 67 percent revealed they were unable to recover all data loss in their most recent incident. Some 43 percent rebuilt the data while 4 percent engaged a data recovery vendor. 

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