IT managers at 6,000 SMBs in 18 countries - including 311 in Australia, were surveyed by the Ponemon Institute for Acronis for its Global Disaster Recovery Index 2012, with 29 percent predicting their servers will be virtualised by the end of the year, a growth rate of 21%.
However, while server virtualisation is attracting SMBs, who cite increased efficiency, flexibility and speed of deployment as the main drivers for moving to virtualisation, Acronis also identified 'widespread backup and disaster recovery shortcomings' for virtual servers amongst SMBs.
According to Acronis, the predicted growth of 29 percent in server virtualisation by SMBs - if it materialises - is 50 percent higher than the pace identified in a recent Gartner report that predicted virtualisation adoption by enterprises is to increase by 14 percent over the same period.
Meanwhile, Acronis also says that previous enthusiasm for cloud infrastructure has, at least so far, failed to turn into reality.
According to Karl Sice, general manager Pacific at Acronis, virtualisation has become more affordable and relatively easy for SMBs to implement, and the high growth rate of virtualisation adoption should not be a surprise. 'Since protecting data is a fundamental requirement and a best practice for any business of any size today, it's particularly disappointing that VMs get overlooked. Some businesses are potentially playing Russian roulette with their virtual backups and, if their luck runs out, will face very real consequences that may adversely impact their business.'
Despite the planned adoption of virtual machines (VMs) globally, the Acronis survey identified widespread backup and disaster recovery shortcomings, including with significant numbers of SMBs in Australia:
'¢ A third (33%) admit that they don't back up their VMs as often as their physical ones - 38% in Australia
'¢ Almost half (49%) back up their VMs infrequently, typically weekly or monthly - 62% in Australia
'¢ Just 37% back up their VMs on a daily basis - 38% in Australia
Sice says that, although VMs seem to get short thrift in the backup and DR department, survey respondents claim that the monetary value of data hosted on virtual servers is almost identical to that hosted on physical servers.
On cloud adoption by SMBs, Acronis found that the vast majority of organisations (83%), including 86 percent in Australia, have some form of cloud-based IT infrastructure, which has grown by 13 percent.
Sice says that, as a specific category, cloud now represents a sizeable 19 percent of all IT infrastructure but, in fact, only 19 percent of businesses are using the cloud today, despite 87 percent predicting that usage would increase during 2011.
SMBs cited several reasons for their less-than-expected cloud usage, including concerns about recovery of data in the event of a disaster, security risks and lack of trust in cloud providers.
Acronis says that 2012 cloud usage predictions seem far more grounded with just one in four, or 26 percent globally and 18 percent in Australia, anticipating that more than 50 percent of their IT infrastructure will be cloud-based this year. Other cloud findings include:
'¢ Using the cloud for offsite backup is becoming a popular choice with over a fifth (21%) using it for this purpose - 14 percent in Australia
'¢ Almost half (42%) still rely on the traditional approach of physically taking backup tapes or disk offsite each day - 28 percent in Australia
'¢ Almost a quarter (23%) still don't have an offsite backup strategy in place at all - in Australia this rises to an alarming 36 percent.