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Issue of August 2002 
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Cover Story: BCP Strategies
Continuity: All about trust

Cyquator Technologies's CTO feels that his data center is successful mostly because of the trust it has built among its clients. And the trust is mostly based on the BC solutions and strategies that the company has put in place. by Soutiman Das Gupta

Enterprises often rely on the services of an external IDC (Internet Data Center) for a number of needs. IDCs provide services like Web hosting, co-location, mail, messaging, database, enterprise applications, security, storage, and network monitoring and management. Most enterprises are glad to outsource these services because it saves them the pains of procuring hardware and software, employing specialized IT personnel, and maintaining a 24x7 infrastructure to support these services.

The IDC at Cyquator Technologies, located at the International Infotech Park, in Vashi (Navi Mumbai) has been in operation since January 2001. The CTO, Jitendra Israni, feels that one of the important reasons that the company has been able to attract a sizeable clientele is that the clients feel that they can trust Cyquator with its data. "And the trust that we have built is mostly because of the business continuity solutions that we have implemented at our facility to benefit our clients," said Jitendra. The company guarantees 99.9 percent network uptime to its clients. Cyquator Technologies has clients like IOL, zeenext.com, HP, and IDBI Principal.

Areas of concern

  • Storage solution
  • Connectivity links
  • Data security
  • Power and climate conditioning
  • Physical security Storage

In most enterprises, a large amount of critical data collects daily which needs to be archived and saved. This requires the company to invest in, and maintain a robust storage infrastructure. The company feels that the cost of storage has come down but when deployed as a disaster recovery solution, availability and reliability becomes crucial. And this is perhaps the main reason why organizations are willing to outsource its storage requirements to service providers under strict SLAs.

Cyquator Technologies' data center uses storage solutions from Veritas and Network Appliance (NetApp). The data center uses multiple OSs like Unix, Novell, and Linux. And the storage network has a media manager SUN Enterprise Server and Quantam ATL as backup media.

Veritas' NetBackup Datacenter provides platform-independent data protection for its multiple OS environment. It offers a central control console to manage continuity of the aspects of backup and recovery. It has a four-tier architecture and database-aware agents which help simplify operations. It also offers server-free backup by which data moves directly from disk to tape and reduces the use of server-based resources. The software allows the use of a robotic device for the DLT media. This has resulted in increased capacity, reliability, and redundancy.

A NetApp F760 box has a raw storage capacity of 3 TB and can take upto 20 snapshots of the file system and stores only the changes to the file system. It has a built-in RAID which protects against data loss from disk failure or reduced downtime. Clustered fail-over, redundant components, and hot-spares aim to increase reliability.

Both these storage solutions offer high levels of continuity. The data center has SLA guarantee from its storage systems integrator for 99.9 per cent uptime. The initial investment for the storage infrastructure was around Rs 1 Crore.

Connectivity links
The data center is connected to the Internet gateway with multiple and redundant E1 lines. It also connects leading NSPs like UUNET, PSINET, and AT&T using an IPLC. Satellite bandwidth from international private satellite gateways is used as backup.

Data security
The storage infrastructure sits behind managed firewalls. This offers protection from any unauthorized access or intrusions. Within the boxes, there are features which provide isolation between different customers who use the infrastructure. The data center also has an online IDS (Intrusion Detection System) which monitors around the clock to prevent unauthorized access.

Power and climate conditioning
Redundancy for power and climate conditioning is planned with an n+1 scheme. This means that one more than the necessary amount required for operation, has been installed. The main power is supplied from two different grids. The UPSs have redundant batteries as well.

For climate conditioning the area is divided into various zones. Every zone has the required number of conditioning units plus an extra.

Physical security
Authorized personnel on a need-to-access basis can only access the network gear. Critical areas where the servers that run databases, billing software, and service desk software are kept have biometric security devices. Closed circuit cameras monitor most areas of the facility.

Future
The data center has plans to replicate its critical applications at a different failover site. The action plan and strategy for this is already in place. Two more data centers are planned in different cities, and the three will be connected in a mesh. In a couple of years a SAN will be built to supplement the current storage infrastructure.

Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached at soutimand@networkmagazineindia.com

 
     
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