IBM unveils disaster recovery service

IBM Corp. is launching a disaster recovery and business continuity service for large companies that want to continue operating when an unforeseen emergency affects their IT infrastructure.

The difference between this service and similar IBM offers is that it is designed to not only offer backup for data, but also for applications, so that a complete “shadow infrastructure” can be set up to spring into action within minutes after a company’s main IT site is damaged, an IBM spokesman said.

This “shadow infrastructure” can also be activated when the workload at the main site reaches a high level. That way, the workload can be balanced between the main site and the remote site, according to IBM.

The service will be offered by the storage services unit of IBM Global Services. It includes services, consulting and storage products, and is aimed at financial, travel and retail companies because companies in those industries have shown greater interest and need for business continuity and rapid failover, said Roger Schwanhausser, director of the storage services unit at IBM Global Services, on Thursday.

Another difference is that this offering can be set up using a client’s own facilities and IT infrastructure, he said. Conversely, similar offerings from IBM Global Services’ business continuity and recovery unit tend to be of the managed operations type, where the backup infrastructure is hosted at a facility not owned by the client, and tend to be rolled out on a larger scale, he said. The service announced this week is aimed at a more limited set of business applications, Schwanhausser added.

“The point is that there are many alternatives (for disaster recovery and business continuity) that customers ought to consider, based on their business requirements,” he said.

The service is available now and its cost ranges between “several hundred thousands of dollars to millions of dollars,” he said.

The area of disaster recovery and business continuity has been a main concern among IT departments worldwide since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Since then, CIOs and other IT decision makers have been trying to set up disaster recovery and business continuity plans to make sure their companies’ operations will not be interrupted in case of an emergency.