Are Virtual Environments Immune to Data Loss?

May 16, 2017 by Jennifer Duits

When I joined the Kroll Ontrack Team and told my husband that I would be specializing in data recovery, one of his first comments to me was “will data loss be a thing of the past with everything moving to virtual environments?”  Now, I was new to the data recovery industry, but I am a veteran of the data storage industry.  My husband is not an expert in data storage, but does have some knowledge of it by marriage. He was very surprised by my response: “Virtual environments are not immune to data loss.”

I believe a lot of people in and out of the IT industry have the misconception that virtual environments are safe from data loss.  Per Jeff Pederson, manager of data recovery operations, Kroll Ontrack, “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.”

Let’s talk about virtual data loss for companies for a moment, and the statement “ramifications are usually far more serious.”  In a recent study by Kroll Ontrack*, we found that 40% of companies lose data annually from virtual environments.  So, 40% of companies surveyed, experienced downtime and some financial loss as a result of their data loss incident.  Only 33% of those companies were able to recover 100% of their data.  The other 67% of companies were only able to recover some of their data (44% recovered approximately 70% of the lost data and 23% recovered less than two-thirds of the data lost).  The bottom line is that companies are losing a lot of time, money and valuable information due to virtual data loss.

What can be done to protect against data loss?  First, create a plan of action now.  Don’t wait until data loss happens.  This will save you time and possibly more of your data when it does happen.  Find a trusted source for recoveries from virtual environments, like Kroll Ontrack.  Keep our information where it can be easily accessed.  Know the process for recovery, so you can easily communicate it to the stakeholders involved. By doing this, you will lessen the stress of the loss and relieve some of the pressure on you.  Leave the rest of the recovery up to us.

Virtual data loss happens, but it does not have to be permanent.


*Seven hundred and twenty four IT professionals participated in this survey in August 2013. Two hundred and twenty three respondents took the survey in-person at VMworld® 2013 in the U.S., while 466 from EMEA and 35 from APAC and responded to the survey online. A complete list of survey questions and results are available upon request.