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"Backup and Recovery", the foundation of nearly all data management processes, continues to be overlooked in many organisations, according to a Storage Networking Industry Association Europe (SNIA-E) survey, writes Tony Lock, of Bloor Research.

Between September 2002 and January 2003 the SNIA-E received 100 responses to a questionnaire designed to assess what data storage issues concern European end user organisations. The results, completed by IT directors and storage professionals, are somewhat alarming, if not entirely surprising, with 12 per cent of organisations admitting that they currently have no backup and restore procedure in place.

With the pressure of 24x7 operations and ever increasing data set volumes it is understandable that many organisations encounter problems when operating their backup and restore procedures. It is unforgivable that one organisation in eight appears to have no data protection procedure with which to have problems!

When it comes to "Disaster Recovery" (DR), the results are somewhat more in line with expectations. Respondents indicated that DR is a matter of primary concern in 57 per cent of organisations. However, fewer than one business in four has a disaster recovery plan in operation. Nearly half of respondents felt that their colleagues and other staff would know what to do in a disaster situation, a belief that is plainly contradicted by experience.

It is of minor comfort that 32 per cent of respondents manage to reassess and test their recovery plans each year while a commendable one in five carry out such testing every six months.

Nearly 50 per cent of those surveyed are willing to engage an outside Storage Service Provider (SSP) to supply disaster recovery services with two out of five organisations happy to use an SSP in their backup operations. However only 24 percent of respondents would trust the management and operation of their online storage systems to an SSP. Clearly the SSP industry has a lot of work ahead to gain trust and credibility in the world of online storage.

Although the number of survey participants was not high, the results cannot be dismissed as being just another set of marketing figures. Anyone who has worked in IT covering any of these functions will have many anecdotes regarding backup and non-recovery bloopers.

For all of its recognition as an area of high importance and concern to the business, the pressure of work and "fire fighting" in IT sometimes still causes Data Protection to appear quite low down on the task list of things to do now. © IT-Analysis.com

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