Organisations are still taking a financial hit from IT service outages, as disaster recovery remains a low priority for under-resourced IT teams, and the situation is likely to get worse as businesses increasingly operate on a 24x7 basis.
The findings come from the Veeam Data Center Availability Report 2014, which is based on responses from 760 IT chiefs at organisations with more than 1,000 employees in countries including the UK, US, Germany, France, and Australia and Singapore.
Veeam found that many IT leaders are well aware of the significant costs associated with downtime in services, reporting an average 13 application failure incidents a year costing as much as $2m a year in some cases.
The problem is that putting measures in place to limit downtime is still seen as a low priority for stretched IT departments.
"The recognition is there, the report proves that, and people are admitting to the costs of downtime," Ian Wells, Veeam vice president for north west Europe, told V3.
"The problem is, time and again, that other things take priority. So unless you are a highly regulated industry and your systems get audited every couple of months, other things are considered a greater priority, especially with the restricted budgets we've had recently."
Another problem identified in the report is a huge gap in availability between key applications and everything else.
"When a CIO looks at an application they are running, if it is absolutely critical to a business, they will spend millions, in fact almost whatever it takes to keep that system up and running so the recovery time will be down in the milliseconds," Wells said.
"And it's costing them an absolute fortune, while everything else is, 'if we can get it back in a day or two, that's going to have to do'."
Ideally, firms would prefer all applications to be recoverable within 15 minutes of a failure, and without it costing a fortune, and this is the capability that Veeam is looking to deliver with its Availability Suite, he added.
Released earlier this year, Availability Suite combines the latest version of Veeam's Backup & Replication with the Veeam ONE reporting and capacity planning tool.
In fact, Wells advised any organisation with a modern data centre built on virtualisation not to accept a recovery time objective of more than 15 minutes.
Spending on backup and recovery is often seen as "dead money" until the time it is needed, but Wells said that customers should be able to get significant value from a properly implemented backup environment.
"One side is about recovery when something goes wrong, but the other side is preventative. Have you got good visibility of your systems and where they might be creaking at the seams, so you can put it right before a breakdown happens?" he said.
Another ability that Veeam offers is enabling a backup to be used as a test environment for software changes such as application upgrades and operating system patches before they are applied to the actual production systems.
"With Veeam, any backup is a recent clone of your production environment, and one of the things we provide is for people to do testing against that backup environment," he said.
"You can spin it up in a sandbox, apply the upgrades, and see if it works or runs into issues. If it doesn't, you're good to go, and that stops one of the big causes of outages."
However, with cloud services from providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure forming an increasing part of IT delivery, Wells admitted that organisations are largely at the mercy of the provider when it comes to availability.
"All you can do is push them for better service level agreements or spread the risk and don't put all your eggs in one service provider basket," he said.
Microsoft's Azure suffered a global outage just last month, and another one back in August, while AWS and Google both suffered outages this year.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago