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Symantec Virtualization Survey
Symantec Research Reveals Fewer Executives Involved in Planning; IT Managers Remain Pessimistic on Recovery Times

Symantec announced the global results of its fourth annual IT Disaster Recovery survey, which demonstrates a decline in executive involvement in disaster recovery planning and an increase in the number of organizations reevaluating their disaster recovery (DR) plans due to virtualization. As more applications and data are managed in a virtual environment, organizations are evaluating the most efficient ways to manage applications and data in both physical and virtual environments.

Nearly one-third of organizations reported they have had to implement part of their DR plan. However, in the past year there was a decrease in executive involvement on DR committees. And, while there appears to be improvement in successful disaster recovery testing, one-third of respondents indicate testing will impact their customers, and one-fifth admit such testing could negatively affect their organization's sales and revenue.

With an increase in mission critical applications combined with the continued growth of stored data -- both physical and virtual -- it is crucial that organizations incorporate a comprehensive, proven disaster recovery plan into the overall business strategy. This will help ensure the successful recovery of data and applications with the least amount of impact to business operations should a disaster -- natural disaster, human error or system failure -- occur.

Sharp increase in applications considered mission-critical
On average respondents indicated that 56 percent of applications were deemed mission critical -- up from 36 percent in 2007. With the increase in the number of mission critical applications, it becomes difficult for organizations with flat IT budgets to maintain the availability of a greater number of mission critical applications. As a result, companies should look at more cost effective ways to protect applications including reducing spare servers, increasing server capacity, looking at physical to virtual configurations, and more.

More than one-third of organizations have executed DR plans
Disaster recovery plans are not documents collecting dust on shelves. In the past year, one-third of organizations surveyed had to execute their disaster recovery plans due to a variety of factors including: Hardware and software failure (36 percent of organizations); external security threats (28 percent of organizations); power outage/failure/issues (26 percent of organizations); natural disasters (23 percent of organizations); IT problem management (23 percent of organizations); data leakage or loss (22 percent of organizations); and accidental or malicious employee behavior (21 percent of organizations). Given the regularity of events that cause downtime, IT organizations should expect that their DR plans will be tested at some point in the future.

Executive involvement in DR planning declining
Survey results also indicate that that C-level involvement in DR planning is declining. In the 2007 survey, 55 percent of respondents said that their DR committees involved the CIO, CTO or IT director. However, in 2008 that number dropped to 33 percent worldwide. Symantec believes that such a move is a troubling trend, particularly in light of the mission critical applications not currently covered in DR plans and the reevaluation of plans due to virtualization. Increased executive involvement has been shown to increase the success of DR plans.

About Virtualization News
SYS-CON's Virtualization News Desk trawls the news sources of the world for the latest details of virtualization technologies, products, and market trends, and provides breaking news updates from the Virtualization Conference & Expo.

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