Why virtualisation initiatives of South African companies are failing

Companies that are failing to see their expected return on investment from virtualisation may be experiencing “virtualisation stall”, according to Warren Olivier of virtual infrastructure management and data protection company Veeam.

Warren Olivier, Territory Manager at Veeam (image: Veeam)

“Virtualisation stall is a very common problem in companies that are a couple of years into their planned virtualisation path,” says Olivier, who is a Territory Manager at Veeam. “They get to about 40%, then hesitate to take the next step of virtualising business critical infrastructure because they have concerns about reliability, cost and data recovery.”

“It’s a horrible position for a CIO to be in,” adds Olivier. “On the one hand your virtualisation business case was based on achieving 100% within a certain time limit; but on the other hand, you can’t justify moving ahead unless you are completely sure you aren’t exposing the organisation to risk.”

One of the main obstacles is the reliability of backups, says Olivier. “Most virtual machine backup solutions are still based on technology developed for physical machines. They’re slow, very difficult to test and not always reliable. If you can’t be 100% confident that your backups will work to restore lost applications and data, it makes sense to hang back and wait.”

Olivier says that Veeam’s patented technology delivers the assurance CIOs need to get back on their planned virtualisation path. “A virtual machine is just a file that can be manipulated like any other file. Veeam has taken advantage of that to create a backup and replication tool that enables us to restore a machine in 20 seconds. The industry standard is more like 30-50 minutes.”

This radical time saving also means that Veeam can test and verify its backups, a step that is otherwise impossible because it simply takes too long. “We test all our backups daily and deliver a recovery verification report that provides the assurance CIOs need that their environments are secure,” says Olivier.

Regular verification and full documentation of virtual environments is also rapidly becoming a compliance requirement, adds Olivier. “Everyone knows they should be documenting their environments, but hardly anybody does it because it’s time-consuming and painful. With Veeam we can deliver full documentation of a virtual environment automatically as often as our client needs it.”

“There are very real advantages to consolidating and virtualising IT environments,” says Olivier. “But the more you commit to disruptive technology like this, the more sure you need to be that you are managing your risks well. Knowing that you have up to date, tested backups that can restore your business quickly is possibly the most important risk management step you can take.”

Staff writer