Kroll Ontrack warns of virtualisation vulnerability

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Kroll Ontrack warns of virtualisation vulnerability
Virtualisation appears to be receiving nothing but positive press of late. The space-saving, environmental and cost benefits of server consolidation have overshadowed a pitfall – having all your data in one place leaves your business vulnerable to experiencing substantial data loss, claimed Adrian Briscoe, general manager Asia Pacific, Kroll Ontrack.

Briscoe told CRN: “In the virtualisation market we’re seeing consolidation of eight servers down to one unit, which conserves electricity, however at the same time your point of failure is greatly increased. If there’s a problem you not only lose the unit it’s running on but also the eight servers virtually existing on it.”

Consequently, Briscoe has observed an increase in demand for data recovery on virtual machines. While many larger organisations possess sophisticated back up mechanisms to protect data stored on virtualised servers, there are still implications – often financial – connected to downtime during the recovery process.

“In the last two quarters we’ve seen a spike in virtual machine recovery, where companies have consolidated down, something has gone astray, something as simple as a power spike, and suddenly the server resets itself to original configuration and therefore loses data,” said Briscoe.

“Backups are very important in that scenario, but losing data for two or three hours can be critical to some businesses because two or three hours of transactions may mean quite a bit of lost revenue.”

According to Gartner, worldwide shipments of PCs are expected to grow by 11 percent in 2008. Briscoe claimed this is indicative of a trend that is seeing organisations replace hardware more regularly, with data migration a common occurrence. He warned, however, as PCs become increasingly mobile and store greater quantities of data, the need for a data recovery safety net should be front of mind for IT managers.

“Data recovery has to be part of a disaster recovery plan because everything is well documented now and processes are very well defined and when a migration does go wrong then people need a contingency plan to recover from that situation,” he said.

SMBs are most vulnerable to experiencing some form of data loss, stated Briscoe. He commented that being prepared for a disaster can go a long way to reducing its impact, and the local channel has a role to play in educating businesses. There are additional opportunities for resellers to provide add-on or consultative services in the area of data security as the margins on hardware become tighter, added Briscoe.

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