Are Companies Risking Data Loss With The Use Of Virtual Storage?

By CIOReview | Tuesday, January 28, 2014
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FREMONT, CA: Contradictory to the popular belief that data stored on a virtual environment is safe, about 40 percent of the companies which relied heavily on virtual storage experienced data loss in 2012, reveals a survey conducted by the data recovery firm Kroll Ontrack. The survey also revealed that only about 33 percent of the companies were able to recover the lost data; while the remaining companies faced permanent data loss.

The reasons for data loss, even in the virtual environment, is due to the fact that virtualization software runs on hardware which faces technical glitches and breakdowns, and  it runs the same operating system and apps that make irreversible changes  to the data on a regular basis. That is, the original data which is well defined and reversible is transformed into an unrecognizable form. Also, with the virtualization layer of the software having its fair share of bugs and management threats, there is no reason to believe that data is safer virtually than on a real machine.

According to Jeff Pederson, Manager of Data Recovery Operations, Kroll Ontrack, “It is erroneous to believe that virtual environments are inherently safer or at less risk for data loss than other storage mediums. Virtual data loss can result from a range of causes, including file system corruption, deleted virtual machines, internal virtual disk corruption, RAID and other storage/server hardware failures, and deleted or corrupt files contained within virtualized storage systems. And, the ramifications are usually far more serious because the volume of data stored in a virtual environment is exponential to that stored on a single physical server or storage device.”

However, the survey stated a slight improvement in conditions as it found that only 40 percent of the companies experienced loss of data as compared to 65 percent in 2011, making the industry wonder if companies are getting better at managing the virtual environment or if they were just plain lucky.

The survey goes to prove that however data is saved: real, virtual or in the cloud, a portion of it will get lost, for sure.