Virtualization won't save your data

Some people believe that virtualization makes their data safer. They're wrong.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

A new survey by Kroll Ontrack — a data recovery firm — found that 80 percent of companies believe that keeping data in a virtual environment either decreases or does not impact their chance of data loss. Yet, 40 percent of companies using virtual storage today lost data from those environments in 2012.

Furthermore, only 33 percent of the losers recovered 100 percent of their data. That means a quarter of the companies surveyed lost data they couldn't recover. Let's hope it was the third shift's MP3 collection and not anything important.

Kroll also found that half the companies believed virtualization reduces the chance of data loss. Now why would they believe that?

The Storage Bits take
Virtualization software is running on hardware that is subject to all manner of glitches. And it's running the same OS and apps that currently munge data on a regular basis.

Plus there's the virtualization layer of software which has its own bugs and management challenges. On the face of it there's no reason to believe data is safer on virtual machines than it is on real ones.

But hope springs eternal.

Companies might be getting better at managing virtual environments. Kroll found that in 2011, 65 percent of companies lost data stored virtually versus 40 percent last year. Or maybe they had a good year.

The bottom line is that data gets lost despite our best efforts in real machines, virtual machines and in the cloud. After all, the universe hates your data.

Comments welcome, of course. Any heinous virtual storage loss stories you care to share? Lessons learned?

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