Surveys Track Backup and Recovery

Pair of new surveys say backup and recovery plans are critical

September 6, 2004

2 Min Read
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IT organizations need and want more disk backup, but concerns are holding them back from adding new gear, according to recent findings of two surveys jointly conducted by storage consulting firms Coughlin Associates and Peripheral Concepts Inc.

The firms say the surveys, "2004 Backup and Archive -- A User's Perspective" and "2004 Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery -- A User's Perspective," are based on data gathered from over 1,000 IT sites, representing companies from 10 industries and a wide range of revenues.

According to Tom Coughlin, principal at Coughlin Associates and co-author of the two surveys, IT personnel are more concerned about backup than they were in a similar survey last year. "The consequences of the business going down, or at least the perception of the consequences, have really changed."

Coughlin attributes this change to the liability associated with new regulatory mandates, a harsher economic climate, and greater concern about major disasters, among other factors.

The findings show firms put a high value on backup and recovery. For example, 26 percent of respondents say that the cost of downtime at their organization is $10,000 to $100,000 per hour; 15 percent say it's $100,000 to $1 million per hour; and 9 percent say it is greater than $1 million per hour.Users want to add disk backup capacity to deal with this: A total of 665 respondents report their use of SCSI drives will rise by 26 percent in the foreseeable future; use of ATA drives, by 23 percent; and use of nearline tape solutions for backup will grow by an anticipated 18 percent.

Despite these risks, however, an alarming 17 percent of those surveyed still do not have a disaster recovery facility.

What's the holdup?

Cost may be one factor. When asked to rate the advantages of disk versus tape on a scale of 0 to 5, for instance (with 0 being "no opinion" and 5 being "much better"), 85 respondents judged restore time, reliability, and the backup time of disk versus tape as 3.5 or better. The cost of both, however, was little better than 3, or equivalent.

Another concern has to do with ATA drives. While touted as cheaper than SCSI and Fibre Channel, many survey respondents are still reluctant to deploy them because of concerns about performance. When asked if performance would prevent them from choosing ATA, 42 percent of 88 respondents said they would not use ATA-based systems for all applications; and 32 percent would not use them for critical applications. Twenty-six percent said performance of ATA either wasn't an issue for them, or they didn't know if it was.But lower-cost options are still needed. "Companies have less money to spend than they used to -- it can be a major impediment to adoption," says Coughlin. "They just need to be convinced that less expensive products are reliable enough to protect their data."

Brett Mendel, Senior Analyst, Byte and Switch Insider

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