ContinuitySA, Africa’s premier provider of business continuity management consulting and services, recently concluded a set of major capital projects aimed at upgrading its IT and physical infrastructure.
“It’s safe to say that IT is now the indispensable platform for business, and companies are placing ever greater emphasis on ensuring both IT and overall business continuity. There is just less tolerance of IT downtime, which is a mark of its importance,” says Mark Beverley, general manager: Service Delivery at ContinuitySA. “Our investment of just under R10 million was targeted at three key areas of client demand: IT replication, IT backup and recovery, and work-area recovery.”
Beverley says that demand for IT replication has been growing strongly of late, thanks in part to the availability of abundant, cheaper bandwidth.
In response, ContinuitySA invested R5.5 million in Dell servers and EMC and IBM storage to increase existing capacity, as well as HP networking kit to improve access speeds. The investment also included replication software from Platespin, a product of Novell. IT replication copies a single instance of the client’s IT environment, and is used for quick recovery.
Complementing its IT replication services, ContinuitySA invested a further R2.8 in its backup and recovery services. This offering uses EMC’s Avamar solution to provide clients with hassle-free, tapeless managed backups. Because consecutive copies of the data are kept, this service means that we can restore their systems using specific backups, so that should recent backups contain a system error, earlier backups without the fault can be used to recover.
“This service replaces the old tape backups, providing clients with a fully automated and reliable alternative that delivers an enhanced level of protection—without all the drama,” Beverley comments.
The third investment of R1.5 million was made into ContinuitySA’s extensive work-area recovery facilities. Here the focus was on upgrading desktop equipment and networking, as well as rapid server deployment capabilities to get desktops up and running quicker in the event of an emergency. Work-area recovery provides alternative facilities should a company’s premises not be accessible due to disasters like fire or flooding, or even because of industrial action.
“To ensure business continuity in the face of disaster, it’s important both that the IT systems can be restored quickly and that employees have an alternative work area if necessary,” Beverley says. “Our investments are aimed at improving our ability to provide a total business continuity solution.”