Making a speedy recovery
Wipro Technologies' DR center at Chennai is fully equipped
to keep the company's business up and running in case disaster strikes.
Wipro Technologies' range of business and operations spans development centers,
marketing and sales offices spread across the world in countries like USA, UK,
The company is also one of the first in India to achieve a BS7799-2: 2002 certification
as per the new standard released in September 2003. Critical aspects of Physical
Security, Information Security & Business Continuity Planning (BCP) Security,
Information Security and BCP have been addressed with the BS7799 framework.
And keeping with the framework, the company has framed a comprehensive Disaster
Recovery (DR) policy.
The need for DR
Wipro Technologies has 15 development centers in India out of which nine are
in Bangalore, two in Chennai, two in Hyderabad, one in Pune, and one in Mumbai.
The company also has offices in Mumbai and Bangalore in India, Santa Clara,
New Jersey and Dallas in the US, Euston and Reading in the UK, and in Tokyo.
Apart from this the company has near-shore development centers in the US, UK,
Canada and Japan.
With such a vast scope of operations it became imperative for Wipro Technologies
to frame a DR strategy which identified critical business processes and systems
across the organization.
The business continuity plan
The Business Continuity (BC) plan at Wipro Technologies talks about managing
availability risks for people, and the flow of processes and technology operations
in case of a disaster.
Sunil P Rangreji, General Manager, Global IT infrastructure at Wipro Technologies
said, "Business Continuity Planning (BCP) goes beyond disaster recovery
planning and includes the recovery of critical business processes in the event
of a disaster. Broadly, it is the process for developing, testing, and maintenance
of a plan to recover critical IT systems when disaster strikes."
At Wipro Technologies, BCP includes aspects like the procedures for command
and control of the organization, recovery procedures and resources, vital records,
and infrastructure (facilities, telecom and IT).
The company has comprehensively defined a framework for its BC plan. As part
of the framework, a business impact analysis and risk assessment is undertaken
which in turn helps define the scope of recovery and priority of data restoration.
Critical business processes are defined as part of the framework. Technology
measures like fallback storage and server configuration needed for restoration
of a given process and data, are also part of the BCP framework.
Ready to recover
Wipro Technologies' worldwide centers are well-equipped to recover and protect
vital data in case of a disaster. There is a Chief Recovery Officer, damage
assessment team, and an emergency response team at strategic centers of the
company spread across the world.
The task of a damage assessment team is to classify the disaster and invoke
the recovery process based on the level of disaster. Besides these there are
critical people identified in all functions and business processes. All of them
have visas to travel across countries in case of a disaster. The online project
management and configuration management helps the company seamlessly move work
between locations. The aim is to quickly respond to emergencies, minimize the
impact of the disaster, analyze the impact, and prevent its reoccurrence through
well-defined and well-documented policies and processes.
Different types of data and applications have been prioritized on the basis
of their importance to the company's business. Three classes have been createdthe
hot site, warm site, and cold sitefor prioritizing the recovery timing
for different applications and sites running across the company.
A hot site is kept operationally ready with specific hardware platforms and
fallback connectivity for immediate availability in the event of disasters.
WAN links, WAN equipment, and applications like SAP, CRM, SCM, and employee
self-service servers are included in its category. The recovery time varies
from immediate recovery to a maximum of eight hours.
The warm site is a partially equipped alternate site with backup tapes and basic
connectivity infrastructure ready for use. Servers and desktops are pre-identified
and can be installed upon notification of a disaster. Project servers, intranet
servers, and quality function servers fall under this category. The recovery
time is from 48 to 72 hours.
The cold site is an alternate site with basic facilities like space, power,
and air-conditioning. Equipment and links are installed there to duplicate critical
Rangreji said, "Such a site can have all the basic infrastructure including
a fire-proof storage facility to restart the process in case of a disaster.
But the restoration time may be from 48 hours to a week."
Incremental backup is taken for mission critical applications every eight hours
and may take longer for less mission critical applications. A full backup is
taken at the end of every week.
Applications for DR
The company maintains a combination of Intel and Sun servers for DR. There are
multiple 2 Mbps links through routes like fiber and satellite for DR. Inter-office
connectivity uses 200 Mbps bandwidth.
Internet links are used from service providers like AT&T, Sprint, British
Telecom, VSNL, STPI, BSNL, Bharti, Tata Teleservices, and Sify. The communication
links are mostly automated.
Tape backups are carefully stored, and those containing important data are sent
to Chennai. Tape backup is taken using Veritas' storage management software
for servers and Altrinis for laptops.
The DR location
The company has identified Chennai as the location for its DR center and has
a well-equipped facility there to run the operations of the entire company in
a worst-case scenario.
Around eight personnel maintain the Chennai DR center round-the-clock.
Chennai also acts as an offsite storage facility for tapes that are stored in
a fireproof area. The center in Chennai replicates all the data being processed
by any Wipro Technologies facility worldwide.
In case of a major disaster, the DR infrastructure has the capability to run
the whole system within four hours of any other strategic center going down.
Every six months Wipro Technologies undertakes a DR restoration exercise where
for a whole week all the systems and processes of Wipro Technologies are shut
down across the world and are run from its DR center at Chennai.
Abhinav Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wipro Technologies' range of business and operations spans development
centers, marketing and sales offices spread across the world in countries
like USA, UK, and Japan. The company is also one of the first in India to
achieve a BS7799-2: 2002 certification.
With this vast scope of operations it was a pressing business need
for the company to frame a DR strategy. Such a policy was necessary to
gain more customers and to satisfy existing ones.
The company used a combination of hardware and software solutions,
plus a dedicated connectivity link connecting its DR center in Chennai
with rest of the other centers worldwide.
The DR architecture has enabled the company to keep running its vital
operations across the world in case a disaster strikes. It has helped
the company gain and sustain a growing customer base, since they feel
secure doing business with Wipro Technologies.