While Interest in Disaster Recovery Has Soared, Commitment Wavers


One of the enduring memories of Sept. 11 is the blizzard of documents that enveloped the sky and streets over Manhattan's Financial District from the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center and days after the towers fell.

Immediately following the tragedy, there was a heightened interest in the way companies went about protecting their data--which many consider the life-blood of any business in today's digital age.

There is no doubt there is interest in disaster recovery. Just a quick Web search will yield more than 100 sites devoted to the subject of disaster recovery and business continuance. And research analysts still consider it a growing market, especially since IT professionals estimated the cost to a company when access to data lost ranges from $6 million to $120 million.

A March Gartner report on storage management software says that the disaster recovery data replication market is expected to grow to $6 billion by 2006. That's a jump from the $1 billion figure recorded for fiscal 2001.

Still, there is a difference between companies that have an interest in disaster recovery and commitment to it. And figuring out how many customers have made a financial commitment to a full-fledged disaster recovery and business continuance program is a tricky task. In a recent interview with Veritas Software CEO Gary Bloom, he stated that his company's disaster recovery seminars where running at about 300 to 400 people per seminar.

"The best forward indicator we have is the number of customers that are contracting with us for our consultants to come in and do disaster recovery assessments," Bloom said. "The reaction in the market is exactly the way I anticipated it. The low end of the market, the SMB user and below are throwing money at the problem. They are going to say, 'I'm not prepared, I will immediately go buy more product.' We saw an immediate uptake in our Backup Exec product, the product goes broadly through the channel to small businesses. It's what I call panic buying.

"It's no different than when there is a virus; everybody runs out and buys a virus update or new security software,. At the high-end of the market, the enterprise customers, they are not going to throw money at the problem. They know they can't fix the problem tomorrow. So they are going to architect and design a proper solution and over a period of 12 to 18 months start implement it. I think we are just getting into those implementations%85 There is a reality that sits in around the enterprise that says if you are not prepared now you are not going to be prepared overnight."