Data deluge preventing businesses from meeting service agreements

Extreme amounts of data now being backed up by companies are preventing them from fulfilling service level agreements, according to a recent survey released by security software firm Symantec Corp.

In a poll of more than 1,400 information technology professionals from various industries around the world, Symantec also found that a substantial number of respondents had little confidence in their system’s ability to recover data that has been backed-up.

Too much data

Results of the survey were released yesterday during a Symantec partners’ conference in Toronto where the firm also released details on Backup Exec 2012, a suite of easy-to-use backup product for small businesses and large companies.

The survey results indicated that:

  • 49 per cent of respondents can’t meet SLAs because they are handling too much data
  • More than a third of respondents (36 per cent) would not bet their paycheques that 100 per cent of backed-up data can be recovered
  • 42 per cent of respondents believe that their virtualization backup system is not adequate or properly working
  • 28 per cent say they have too many backup tools
  • Organizations employ an average of four backups to protect physical systems and another three to cover virtualized systems
  • 72 per cent said they would switch backup products if backup speed doubled


“There is simply so much data that many companies are grinding to a halt under its weight,” said Amit Walia, vice president of product management for Symantec’s information management group.

In line with this growth in volume, he said, information has also grown in importance for governments, businesses and organizations. “The key to protecting this valuable resource is data backup,” Walia said.

Data backup headaches are compounded by three technology trends, he said: Consumerization of IT; virtualization; and the increasing use of public and private cloud storage.

As workers bring their own devices into the workplace, IT is inundated with a larger number of disparate devices that access corporate data. On the other hand, virtual machines add to the number of systems that IT teams need to monitor.

The SMB focused tools released by Symantec were:

Backup Exec 2012 Small Business Edition – This is a small business adaptation of Backup Exec 2012. It is especially configured for users with limited IT experience. It features easy to use controls and it bundles Symantec’s data and system recovery technology in one affordable package with a single licence. The product is appropriate for businesses with up to three servers.

Backup – This is a standalone product that provides the Backup Exec 2012 capabilities for small businesses that want a secured off-premises, secured cloud storage and backup service. Symantec said this service is ideal for small offices with no IT staff, or operations that employ remote office of mobile workers.

Backup Exec V-Ray Edition – This edition is specifically targeted at businesses that employ virtual environments. The V-Ray technology enables users to backup virtual and physical environments without the need of specialized products. The system also provides single file recovery and de-duplication for VMware and Hyper-V environments and physical servers.

Businesses plagued by unnecessary backups

A large part of the data deluge can be attributed to unnecessary backup, according to Monica Girolami, director of SMB product marketing for Symantec. She said this is extremely evident in businesses that employ virtual machines.

Because creating virtual servers is a lot cheaper than deploying physical servers the deployment of virtual machines has come to a point in some organizations where it has replaced server sprawl, she said. “Virtual machines have the tendency to re-create like rabbits,” said Girolami.

“A major problem is that IT administrators do not have adequate visibility into virtual machines so that they have no idea what data is being stored, duplicated or dumped,” she said.

Sures Nava, IT manager for Information Balance Inc., a Toronto-based technology training and consulting firm, agrees. The 21-employee firm advises many businesses on database management and other tech issues.

“Many businesses duplicate as much as 70 per cent of their data. Unfortunately sometimes almost 90 per cent of this information is not being accessed ever again,” he said.

This is a big waste, he said, it terms of labour and storage costs. De-duplication is vital because this frees up the system storing unneeded files.

But the problem, especially with virtualized systems, is that IT cannot determine the specific files are being duplicated, he said. “With these systems, data is backup in large chunks. There is not enough granularity for administrators to specify or determine what specific data should be duplicated.”

He said many hybrid environments are also plagued complexity and training issues because they need to deploy and managed disparate point products for their physical and virtual servers.

Nava said Backup Exec’s ability to handle hybrid environments will be a big selling point. “Many other providers offer similar backup tools but Symantec offers these tools in a comprehensive package.”

Nestor ArellanoNestor Arellano is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and join the IT Business Facebook Page.

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