Study reveals CIOs still wary of virtualization technology

A Veeam survey shows that virtualization uptake is slowed down by backup and recovery concerns

Many organizations are hitting a brick wall when it comes to fully deploying virtualization in their environments. According to a recent survey, businesses are still unsure about the ability to back up and recover their virtual machines, causing many organizations to avoid virtualizing their entire infrastructure and hitting the phenomenon which has become known as "VM stall."

An organization reaches VM stall when it hits a point in its virtualization journey where it just can't seem to get beyond a certain percentage virtualized. The average stall point seems to be somewhere around 40 percent, and this can be caused by a number of factors. However, one factor seems to be common across most organizations falling into this trap: VM stall will typically occur when a company no longer feels comfortable virtualizing. This wariness usually stifles a virtualization deployment before reaching mission- or enterprise-critical applications, leaving a virtual environment made up of more or less "low-hanging fruit" applications.

[ Also on InfoWorld: PCI DSS 2.0 addresses the use of server virtualization, clarifying the language dealing with virtualization technology | Use server virtualization to get highly reliable failover at a fraction of the usual cost. Find out how in InfoWorld's High Availability Virtualization Deep Dive PDF special report.]

Backup and recovery software provider Veeam recently finished up a survey of around 500 CIOs from organizations across the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. The survey looked to identify the impact of virtualization on data protection strategies. What it found was that enterprise adoption of virtualization is actually being hampered due to fears around the ability to successfully back up and recover virtual machines.

The findings highlight how virtualization should move from being viewed as a risk to an enabler of improved data protection within the enterprise. But first, enterprises must consider changing or augmenting their current management and data protection processes to take full advantage of virtualization technology.

According to the survey, on average, approximately half of all servers are viewed by CIOs today as mission-critical, and with 42 percent penetration, virtualization is fast approaching the mission-critical application stage.

Veeam's "VMware Data Protection Report 2010" survey included other interest findings as well, such as:

  • Nearly half (44 percent) of respondents indicated that concerns around backup and recovery prevented them from virtualizing certain mission-critical workloads.
  • Yet at the same time, only 68 percent of production-level virtual servers are currently being backed up; and more specifically, only 29 percent of organizations back up their entire virtual estates.
  • And of those servers and virtual machines that are being backed up, only 2 percent are being tested for recoverability each year.
  • Nearly two-thirds of organizations experience problems every month when attempting to recover a server. These failed recoveries cost the average enterprise more than $400,000 a year.

It's no wonder CIOs are worried about virtualizing mission-critical applications!

"The message is simple: without the correct strategy, organizations will never unlock virtualization's full potential," said Ratmir Timashev, Veeam president and CEO. "What is needed is a change of perspective. Businesses must stop looking at a virtual environment as simply an extension of physical infrastructure. Instead, they must realize that virtualization can bring a host of extra benefits to data protection, but only if they change their approach to management."

Timashev continued, "If they can do this, then organizations will be able to reap the benefits of virtualization. If not, then businesses must resign themselves to the fact that they will never be able to fully trust or exploit their virtual infrastructure."

On a positive note for Veeam and other virtualization backup and recovery solution providers, the survey did find that attitudes among organizations are indeed changing. According to the survey results, 59 percent of businesses are now planning to deploy a virtualization-specific solution to back up virtual servers.

The reasons given for taking this route are faster recovery (63 percent), faster backup (56 percent), and lower cost (54 percent).

We can see from the results of this survey that backup and recovery issues are definitely a fundamental problem keeping organizations from achieving the full potential of virtualization. It is also one of the many causes for VM stall. Virtualization backup and recovery strategies are currently applied with a physical world mindset, but we see how the right tools can transform the entire field of data protection.

This article, "Study reveals CIOs still wary of virtualization technology," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.