IT administrators are bolstering business continuity measures through new provisioning, replication and failover processes to head off potential disruptions and downtime well before they occur.
Hewlett-Packard Co. and MessageOne Inc. have recently introduced software and hosted services that enable a variety of Microsoft Corp. applications and other server-cluster environments to better combat outages by quickly transporting mirrored information to remote data centers more effectively.
For users such as Charles Lynn McGuire, CIO of Houston-based Andrews Kurth LLP, business continuity translates into ensuring that products and proper communications are delivered to customers in a timely manner by means to which they are accustomed.
"Our interaction with clients is dependent on e-mail and other electronic means [including] portals," McGuire said. "We have to have those systems running 24-by-7, and there can be no exceptions. If we had a problem, yes, we wouldnt want them to know about it, but the real issue is making sure we make it easy on our clients to deliver to them what they need without causing them additional work or burdens."
McGuire said replication software must work on top of his existing NSI Software Inc. DoubleTake installation and be integrated with his companys e-mail, document management and accounting systems.
To drastically reduce manual processes and data transfer rates at his primary and secondary data centers, McGuire said he plans to deploy MessageOnes new OneSwitch failover product by the end of next quarter.
Unveiled last week, OneSwitch is an automated replication service that manages enterprise application availability and provisioning through a single console.
The service requires a monthly fee based on the number of servers deployed, said Mike Rosenfelt, executive vice president for MessageOne, in Austin, Texas.
The OneSwitch dashboard gives users a centralized view of all Windows applications, including multiple versions of Microsofts Exchange, SQL Server, Active Directory and DNS (Domain Name System) services.
OneSwitch also covers Research In Motion Ltd.s BlackBerry Enterprise Server versions, iManage Inc.s DMS (Document Management System), Hummingbird Ltd.s DMS, Thompson Elite and Citrix Systems Inc.s MetaFrame. In 15 minutes or less, the controls initiate failover and failback to a companys local or remote backup system over a standard network connection, said Rosenfelt.
OneSwitch features remote monitoring, notification and failover automation to ensure backup systems are synchronized and ready for action.
For its part, HP recently introduced a trio of additions to its HP StorageWorks Business Continuance Software portfolio that bolster the replication and automatic failover capabilities of HP StorageWorks EVA (Enterprise Virtual Array) midrange devices.
Available this quarter, HP Metrocluster, HP Continentalclusters and HP StorageWorks Cluster Extension EVA enable HP-UX and Windows users to better combat planned or unplanned system downtime, said officials of HP, in Palo Alto, Calif.
The applications do this by failing over the entire server cluster and storage site beyond just a local data center.
In HP-UX environments, Metrocluster and Continentalclusters are layers of middleware that provide continuous access.
They sit between server clusters and midrange array-based replication servers in such a way that servers and storage can be protected with replicated instances of data using EVA at long distances via a single product.
Metrocluster offers synchronous replication featuring automatic and bidirectional failover and failback operations. The cluster is limited to 260 kilometers and supports up to 16 HP 9000 and Integrity servers.
Continentalclusters provides asynchronous replication, extends beyond 260 km for greater geographic stretching of data and supports up to 32 HP 9000 and Integrity servers per Continentalclusters deployment.