Accidental deletion of virtualised data soaring

IT staff are losing track of virtual machines and inadvertently erasing data, according to a data recovery firm.

Data recovery firm Kroll OnTrack has seen a ten-fold increase in accidental erasure of data in virtual environments, according to the company’s Australian General Manager Adrian Briscoe.

“Since the beginning of this year we have seen a huge ramp up of requests for virtual machine recovery,” Briscoe told SearchStorage ANZ. “We are seeing more and more accidental deletion of a LUN or a virtual machine (VM).”

“It’s a global thing: we are seeing it all the way across to Scandinavia, USA, Europe and APAC.”

Briscoe says the accidents are caused by a combination of poorly-trained staff and virtual machine proliferation.

“VMware and other virtualisation products are very, very robust: I am not criticising the software, or hardware providers. Instead, the danger is that the pace of virtualisation is faster that IT staff can keep up with. Staff are not getting the training they need and administrators are finding it hard to develop a disaster recovery plan that incorporates virtualisation.”

IT departments are also, he said, simply losing track of VMs.

“In years gone by you could walk into a server room and point to each server, which had a label on it explaining what that server did. Now you have one big box in the server room which can be running 60 or 100 VMs. An IT department needs to be well organised to understand what they are running and who is using those machines.”

IT departments’ current immature virtual machine management processes are making plenty of work for Briscoe and his team.

“We had one case in Singapore recently where a client had deleted two SQL databases inside a virtual machine. People are losing whole images.”

Happily, it is possible to recover accidentally erased virtual machines.

“VM recoveries are layered like onions,” Briscoe explains. “We repair or recover a VMWare file system and then we go and find the VM.”

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