Virtual machine (VM) environments, both on-premises and in the cloud, offer a unique set of challenges for IT professionals. ESG recently took a closer look at this topic on behalf of Dell Technologies with a focus on data protection. The perspectives in this paper are underpinned by a survey conducted by ESG and Dell Technologies. For further details on survey specifics, see the Appendix: Demographics and Methodology. Virtualization technology is well established yet many environments still are not fully virtualized. Deployments of virtualization technology are now overwhelmingly hybrid, almost equally split between on-premises and public cloud, on average. While overall, IT organizations are very comfortable with virtualization technology, they struggle with skill sets and, operationally, with data protection. Backup and recovery remain crucial issues. On-premises, backup and recovery SLAs still have room to improve. VM recovery failures come at a cost and can lead to significant operational efficiency loss and business impacts. The backup infrastructure is seen as the leading cause for missing data protection SLAs. This creates both a mandate and an opportunity to improve backup and recovery for IT leaders. One of the fundamental keys to success discovered as a result of this research is the integration and back-version compatibility with VMware. The annual VM growth rate is expected to be higher in the cloud than on-premises in the next 24 months, so there is no question that virtualization and cloud are intertwined moving forward. One important aspect of “going to the cloud” is to secure the right processes and technologies to effectively migrate workloads and associated data protection services to the cloud, an area in which channel or third-party service providers are critical.