Disaster Recovery B

Taking control over disaster recovery operations to minimize risk and maximize systems availability

For a company in the energy business, a power outage is always a major challenge. If you are providing power to customers, you need to ensure they get their power back as quickly as possible, with minimal disruption to their lives and businesses. You also want to make sure your own organization suffers as little disruption as possible, so that you can best serve the needs of your customers.

When a power outage hit a major city several years ago, one of the leading power providers in the region realized it needed to upgrade it’s own disaster recovery operations. While it was able to restore power in a timely manner to its customers, it’s own systems were among the last to get their power back on. The management team didn’t realize they needed to upgrade their disaster recovery operations until they had to confront an actual disaster. They vowed to never let that happen again.

The company was already a customer of Vicom Infinity. Their IT team came to us and told us they wanted more control of their computing environment in the event of another disaster. They were also an IBM customer, so we took them to the IBM STG Executive Briefing Center in Poughkeepsie, where we discussed options with our own disaster recovery experts, as well as experts from IBM.

After thoroughly going through their options, we recommended a solution in which they would have two separate sites in two cities that were geographically dispersed, to minimize the likelihood that the same disaster would simultaneously impact both locations. We recommended that they utilize IBM’s Global Mirror disaster recovery solution, which provides asynchronous data replication over extended distances between two sites for business continuity and disaster recovery. We also recommended that they update their mainframe processors and deploy IBM Capacity BackUp (CBU) solutions on both systems, so they could run full production workloads in both locations.

The management team signed off on the proposal and Vicom Infinity then led the implementation process. We helped them to install and implement the hardware at both sites and we helped them customize it for their environments. We then helped them test the system and proved to them how well it would work in the event of another disaster.

The system has been in place for several years now, and the company has already seen significant benefits in reduced downtime. Having an environment where both systems can run production workloads means that if one site goes down all of your data is already at the other site. With Capacity BackUp, you can expand the capacity at the second site to accommodate any incremental capacity challenges.

These capabilities have been particularly valuable in minimizing planned downtime. When, for example, the organization wants to upgrade an application or do routine maintenance, it can simply shut down one of the sites and run their production operations at the other site. So, in those situations, there is no downtime at all. Same with testing: The organization has much more control over testing, whereby it can again move workloads off one system without impacting production, while doing the testing on the second system.

Best of all, the company now has the peace of mind in knowing that in the event of disaster it has far more control over its own systems than it has ever had in the past. While there hasn’t been another major event since the system was installed – fortunately – the management team knows that the organization’s computing environment is fully backed up and replicated and ready to respond in any situation. The value of that peace of mind: Priceless.

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