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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Study calls for retail data protection changes

Friday March 23 2012

Independent 2011 virtualisation data protection report offers insights into retailers’ server replication strategies

Independent 2011 virtualisation data protection report offers insights into retailers’ server replication strategies


Retail industry survey findings have indicated greater strides need to be made in server replication, particularly in support of disaster recovery.


The findings were taken from an independent survey of 105 UK, US, French and German chief information officers (CIOs) in the retail sector conducted by market research firm Vanson Bourne at the end of 2011, released today in the second annual report on the impact of virtualisation on data protection, backup and recovery strategies from Veeam Software.


Limiting virtualisation potential


Nearly all (96%) of CIOs in the retail sector said virtualisation technologies had the potential transform data protection strategies. A further 85% also said that recovery times from large-scale disaster are growing as the number of business-critical servers within the retail organisation increases.


But the top three barriers preventing increased server replication included cost of hardware, which was cited by 57% of respondents, cost of replication software (50%) and complexity (46%). Despite these barriers, the retail CIOs said deploying server replication saves an estimated £269,737 per hour in the event of outages.


Ratmir Timashev, Veeam Software chief executive, highlighted how 74% of retail CIOs said that, due to the agent-based approach of traditional replication solutions, there was minimal difference between physical and virtual machines when it comes to the actual volume of data that can be replicated.


“From our perspective the key issue uncovered in our previous studies remains this year: the physical world mindset is being applied to virtualisation,” he said. “This limits not only the true potential of the technology, but also the retail industry’s efforts to improve data protection strategies.”


Avoiding replication of risk


Server replication, unlike general backup, is a process of copying data to production standard hardware that can be brought quickly online in the event of an outage. The top reasons for server replication included: protection from data loss cited by 88% of respondents, protection from hardware failure (72%), protection from data centre failure (59%) and protection from regular human errors (42%). Currently 28% of the retailers surveyed did not use such an approach. However, in those retailer organisations that did it only protected on average 29% of business-critical servers.


Worryingly, CIOs estimated the cost of outage to the remaining 71% of the business critical server estate that was not replicated at £291,447 per hour. With the average server recovery time at four hours, this means that each major outage of business-critical data costs a retailer almost £1.2 million.


Timashev said these risks were only likely to grow as retailers generate more and more data. He added: “In fact the study revealed that in 77% of retailers the current tools used for disaster recovery, a critical component of enterprise data protection strategy, will become less effective.”