Separate backup data center locations are not being used by many companies to provide the complete data-recovery system, according to research.
Instead they are relying on failover to separate storage arrays and servers within the same physical building.
Market researcher Harris Interactive said this is the Achilles heel of many virtualized IT environments.
Three-quarters of IT executives surveyed believe virtualization by itself can play a major role in an enterprise disaster recovery plan.
But they said it in no way represents a complete answer to a DR strategy, according to a "State of Disaster Recovery" survey released by Harris.
While many IT decision-makers say they have deployed virtualization in a production setting, survey data indicated that most have not yet utilized it in a disaster-recovery situation.
A full-fledged disaster-recovery system using virtualization replicates the system and all its data to an off-site location away from the main enterprise data center.
In the event of the main data center going offline and out of action, virtual machines replicated at the backup location continue to keep the workloads running smoothly, with little or no latency in daily production.
However, many companies are not able to deploy separate backup data center locations to provide the complete data-recovery system, relying instead on failover to separate storage arrays and servers within the same physical building.
Seventy-four per cent of survey respondents indicated that virtualization can play a major role but is not a total solution for disaster recovery plans.
One-quarter of IT respondents said they would never include virtualization technologies in their disaster recovery plans.
Sixty per cent of respondents said they have virtualization in place now as a recovery tool from unplanned outages; only 29 per cent said they have used it successfully.
Eight per cent said they used virtualization but that it didn’t work to their satisfaction.
Another 29 per cent of IT decision-makers say they have deployed virtualization but not yet used it as a tool for disaster recovery.
The survey said that over the next two years, half of IT decision-makers say they will be looking into virtualization as an option for managing unplanned outages and disaster recovery.
About a quarter of IT executives say they will be looking into cloud computing and grid networking as potential options.
The survey was commissioned by SunGard Availability Services, which provides disaster recovery services, managed IT services, information availability consulting services and business continuity management software to more than 10,000 customers in North America and Europe.