EMC Corporation on Tuesday announced the result of a study it commissioned and was conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne. “The Disaster Recovery Survey 2012: Asia Pacific and Japan” was derived from a survey of 2,500 IT decision makers in Asia Pacific and Japan in the first couple of months of 2012. The study’s results provide an in-depth look at IT spending on backup and recovery, as well as the participants’ disaster recovery experiences and plans.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Eric Goh, the Managing Director of EMC Singapore, and Shane Moore, the Director of Product Marketing for EMC in Asia, Pacific & Japan. Moore conducted a briefing of the findings, while Goh helped to better place the data in a local context. Here are the highlights of what I learned.

Causes of downtime

According to the study, the top three causes of data loss and downtime are hardware failure (60%), data corruption (47%), and loss of power (44%). What proved surprising was the higher than average percentage of organizations in Singapore (49%) that blamed loss of power as a cause of downtime. Considering how rare power outages are in the island state, the logical assumption is higher instances of localized outages or possible misconfiguration at the data center level.

Ultimately, the cause of downtime is more meaningful at a country-specific level rather than a regional level. For one, there may be a large variance in the quality of IT infrastructure across neighboring countries, as with the availability of high-speed bandwidth. Some places are more prone to natural disaster, which can result in higher occurrences of downtime. With this in mind, it may be prudent to check out the survey’s comparison matrix for a breakdown based on specific countries (PDF).

Location of data backups

One of the questions posed in the survey has to do with the location of offsite backups for organizations that perform them. The predominant response is to store offsite data at another company-owned location within the same country (58%), which is followed by at a “third-party site” within the same country. The third highest response, interestingly, is to back up online across the company’s network. This could be due to the increasing availability of high-speed connectivity, and may also be an indication that the region is buying into NAS or SAN storage appliances capable of network replication.

Ultimately, specific practices may be favored in different countries. For example, Moore mentioned that an increasing number of companies are moving to store their data in Singapore, which he attributed to the availability of skilled manpower. Another nugget of information that Moore found interesting is that 44% of respondents in India say they take data home as an “off site” backup measure.

Moving away from tape

For all the differences inherent to how countries in the Asia Pacific region deal with their data, there is at least one similarity with the rest of the world: Companies are faced with an increasing amount of data to move within the same backup windows. Many businesses in the region, though, still rely on tape backup systems (38%) or CD-ROMs (38%). On this front, the study found that many businesses (53%) have plans to migrate from tape to a faster medium in order to improve the efficiencies of their data backup and recovery.

Download the full PDF report to learn more details about this survey’s findings.