Nortel looks to protect data

When disaster strikes a company, its key business information could become vulnerable and may risk being obliterated without a corporate business continuity plan.

To help companies protect data, EMC Corp. in Hopkinton, Mass., Nortel Networks Ltd. in Brampton, Ont., and Legato Systems Inc. in Mountain View, Calif. have announced a business continuity solution that will allow disparate data centres to behave as one.

If a data centre is destroyed, or a system becomes unavailable, the solution will enable transactions to automatically be re-routed to an alternate site. No manual restore or restart procedures would be needed, which EMC says reduces cost and time to recovery.

The solution includes EMC’s Symmetrix high-end storage area network (SAN) products and CLARiiON SAN products, EMC’s Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF) remote replication software, Legato’s Automated Availability Manager (AAM) for EMC SRDF and Nortel’s OPTera Metro 5200 multi-service platform.

“We’re basically bringing, from a hardware perspective, Symmetrix and CLARiiON, that will be storing information at the sites,” said Ken Steinhardt, director of technology analysis at EMC. “But the most significant piece is the Symmetrix remote data facility that provides multi-platform, multi-site data replication transparently so that data that’s created at one site can – totally transparent to the applications and servers, and with no overhead on the servers – be replicated to the remote site.”

Legato’s AAM for EMC’s SRDF combines the functions of the two to protect sites with system resources, data and applications; prepare for planned or unplanned downtime; protect against site failure and disaster; and provide automatic or manual site-to-site failover and fail-back.

Legato’s AAM console manages the Symmetrix and CLARiiON SANs over distances of up to 200 kilometres because Nortel’s OPTera Metro 5200 is based on dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) and its bandwidth provides massive scalability, Steinhardt said.

Alan Freedman, research manager, infrastructure hardware at IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto, said the products included in the solution are well-known and well-regarded, and are already widely-deployed in the enterprise.

Freedman said business continuity solutions have had a stronger presence in the enterprise since 9/11. He explained that customers want a solution that is easy to architect, heterogeneous and easy to install but added that the weak economy has slowed adoption of business continuity solutions.

“There’s been a lot hype surrounding disaster recovery and business continuance and that has translated into a lot of tire-kicking on the customer’s end,” he said.

“It hasn’t actually resulted in a tremendous amount of purchasing or installations, but we do see some momentum in the market picking up. Once the economy picks up and people are more willing to spend their budgets we should see a rise in these types of solutions.”