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A snapshot of UK technology continuity practices

A survey of more than 1,000 UK IT managers and C-level executives from public and private sector organizations, found that 37.6 percent of respondents were unsure of cloud platforms as a viable option for disaster recovery, while a further 31.3 percent would not consider a hosted cloud infrastructure as a method for protecting IT resources. According to this survey, commissioned by Neverfail, security (27.4 percent), cost (20.4 percent), and the reliability of third-party services (16.9 percent) were the key causes for apprehension, highlighting that despite the possible long-term economic and efficiency advantages of cloud-based environments, IT decision makers remain reluctant to host disaster recovery environments in public clouds.

Interestingly, while cloud computing remains an area for concern, the survey found that the deployment of critical applications on virtual machines is strong, with 58.3 percent of respondents having now migrated tier one applications to virtual platforms. This demonstrates a maturity in the virtualization market, particularly as businesses and IT staff are better equipped and trained to migrate and maintain virtually hosted applications.

Whether running from a single platform or heterogeneous environment, the cost related to downtime continues to be a concern for businesses. 17.4 percent of businesses stated that the hourly cost of downtime amounts to more than £5,000, with 12.7 percent of those surveyed suggesting that this loss would equate to more than £10,000 per hour. Despite the potential enormity of this financial loss, 47.5 percent of all surveyed were unaware of the hourly costs of downtime to their business. When considering that 18.8 percent of IT staff have experienced downtime lasting more than a full business day and 85.2 percent of organizations had suffered an outage at some stage, this survey clearly outlines that business disruption and cost of IT failure need to be a priority for IT decision makers, ensuring all end-to-end processes are supported to guarantee companies are not hit with large financial blows following an IT outage.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • During periods of downtime, 42.4 percent of respondents are contacted incessantly by internal workers until the IT problems are resolved.
  • 58.8 percent of businesses rely on C-level executives to define the criteria of critical applications.
  • 42.7 percent of respondents indicated a need for 24-7 accessibility to critical applications.
  • 38.8 percent of outages are caused by power cuts or data centre problems.

“It’s clear that many businesses remain wary about the stability of cloud-based infrastructures as disaster recovery platforms. Without access to business resources, severe financial implications and reputational damage are very real consequences, as well as long, drawn out processes in getting users back online,” said Bob Roudebush, VP of marketing at Neverfail. “An interesting observation from this survey is the high numbers of businesses running tier one applications on virtual machines, supporting an industry trend that suggests end-users are using virtualization as a stepping stone to adopting cloud services. Nevertheless, companies continue to need advice on how to protect their critical applications. By re-thinking availability strategies as infrastructure changes are instigated, IT decision makers can ensure that a good level of resiliency is in place to avoid any downtime, allowing businesses to focus attention on delivering excellent standards of service to their own customers.”


•Date: 21st April 2011 • Region: UK •Type: Article • Topic: ICT continuity

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