Newer acronyms like 3DR and CDP crop up every passing day.
However, it is of greater relevance to discover what Indian enterprises already
have in place on the DR front. Here is a look at two such organisations.
is quite interesting to note that many an Indian organisation has already deployed
advanced multi-tier DR infrastructure. Here we present two such organisations
who already have sophisticated DR infrastructure in place to keep their businesses
running in the worst of times.
When you are a business processing services player, there is no excuse for the
infrastructure going down. That is why First Indian Corporation deployed a two-tier
network infrastructure that incorporated DR with provisions for future growth.
Today, First Indian Corporation is ready for any disaster.
In the case of Bank of India (BoI) it was the shift from
branch-specific automation to an overall bank automation that paved the way
for disaster preparedness. The BoI case of business continuity and disaster
recovery implementation is an example worth emulating.
Across the oceans with two-tier IP
First Indian Corporation, a leading provider of business
processing services to the real estate information and mortgage industry, decided
to deploy a two-tier disaster recovery infrastructure. Dominic K reports
First Indian Corporation is a BPO and a subsidiary of The
First American Corporation, with facilities in Bangalore and Hyderabad. It provides
insurance, property tax, flood certification, and default management services
for credit and real estate information clients in the United States. First Indias
two-tier network is based on a switching architecture using various Catalyst
6500 series switches in the core and access layers.
The organisations Indian operation and transaction centre was initially
based in Hyderabad. It later decided to shift to a larger base in Bangalore
which would also act as its Indian head office.
When First Indian sought to move its operations to the new
facility in Bangalore from Hyderabad, it felt the need for deploying an IT and
network infrastructure that incorporated disaster recovery.
Anoop Hegde, Country Manager, First Indian wanted the deployed
architecture to include DR aspects with a provision for future needs. Additionally,
it wanted to ensure seamless network connectivity across all its inter-state
facilities. Our major concern and objective was business continuity through
high link-up time and securing business information and data over international
network, he states.
First Indians primary objective was to have redundant inter-connectivity.
Besides, it wanted to deploy a two-tier architecture for DR. The deployment
was commissioned with Cisco as a consultant and Wipro Infotech as the network
The organisations hot-site data backup site is based
in Dallas while the enterprise-wide application data centre is based in Santa-Ana,
California. All the data from India is remotely backed up in Dallas.
|HP Compaq Server Proliant DL 580
|HP Compaq Server Proliant DL 380
|HP Compaq Server Proliant ML 350
|Sun Fire Series Server
|Catalyst 6506-E for core switches
|Catalyst 6513 and 6509 for access switches
|Catalyst 6509 for server farm switches
|Catalyst 4506 for DMZ
|Internet and WAN Routing
|3825 series router
|VPN Concentrator VPN 3030
|Access Control Server
The solutions deployed
First Indian wanted the deployed
architecture to include DR aspects with a provision for future needs.
Additionally, it wanted to ensure seamless network connectivity across
all its inter-state facilities
First Indian was working under strict project guidelines. If the new infrastructure
was not put in place, it would have jeopardised its productivity and revenues.
Moreover, migration from the existing facility to the new one was dependent
on the network implementation.
The facilities in India are connected by multiple MPLS circuits. These circuits
are on the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific communication cables routed from
United States to the facilities in Bangalore and Hyderabad. The Trans-Oceanic
communication cable lines are handled by MCI and AT&T.
The network also supports automatic re-routing and inter-connected operations
for the facilities in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
The networks DR objectives were achieved through the use of redundant
network equipment and communication links. The deployment complemented First
Indian to achieve its expected link uptime of 99.99 percent for various international
transactions and business processes.
The switching facilities included Cisco Catalyst 6506-E for core switches. Ciscos
Catalyst 6513 and 6509 were deployed as access switches while Catalyst 4506
forms a Demilitarised Zone. The access layer switches helped First Indian harden
The server farm switches were Cisco Catalyst 6509. Internet and WAN routing
was accomplished through Cisco 3825 series routers.
Security was framed and designed with flexibility for future needs and control
that could be handled at the access or core layers. The enterprise security
aspect is covered using Ciscos PIX-535-UR-BUN and PIX-535-FO-BUN firewalls
Remote connectivity was established through VPN Concentrators through the use
of Cisco VPN 3030. Network administrators can enforce corporate assigned policies
through Cisco Secure Access Control Server.
It took three months to complete the deployment. During that time the IP Contact
Centre routed the calls from corporate global centres in the United States and
across Asia and India. It is now being routed by the Cisco Unified Intelligent
Contact Management. The main management of call centres is in United States
while the calls are being handled by customer care representatives in Bangalore
on various Cisco 7960 IP-based phones.
First Indian handles 800 terabytes of data and this is expected to expand with
the business growth. This has led the company to spread its operational wings
to other locations.
First Indian is looking to set up its base in other Indian
cities as well. This will also mean further extension of its network architecture.
Automated against disaster
Dominic K writes about Bank of India's DR strategy
P A Kalyan Sunder
The Bank of India wanted to migrate to a system that would
automate all its branches across the country. The bank also needed to introduce
a core banking system and centralised data system since the data access in each
branch was limited to city level servers.
This was why BoI decided to shift from branch-specific automation to an overall
bank automation along with business continuity and disaster recovery implementation,
according to P A Kalyan Sunder, GM, IT.
BoI currently has more than 2,000 branches across the country. Out of these
1,000 are considered as strategic branches. To fulfil its deployment objectives
BoI chose HP as consultants and network integrators for the project.
Objectives and Challenges
Apart from business continuity and a redundant disaster recovery set-up BoI
wanted to upgrade its banking infrastructure. It wanted the deployment to offer
better services to its customers.
The challenges included network management of almost all the strategic branches.
The other major hurdle faced by BoI was with regards to poor infrastructure
set-up and change management among its employees across all levels.
As Sunder puts it, The poor infrastructure was a major hurdle during the
overall deployment along with change management among our employees. We had
to face severe power failure at times for eight to 10 hours in some branches.
We had to carry on our activities with the help of a UPS powered by a diesel
The challenges were jointly tackled by the bank and HP. This is reflected from
the fact that the deployment project was completed one year before the scheduled
date. The deployments execution started off in August 2004 and was expected
to be completed by June 2007.
By June 2006 deployment in about 750 branches was completed.
This was a major milestone since the bank is about to celebrate its centenary
on September 7 this year.
Solution and Technologies Deployed
The higher level management decided to tackle change management issues with
determination and by ensuring continuous training to its employees. The training
on various banking technologies and business aspects was jointly executed by
BoI and HP.
The BoI data centre set-up is located in Mumbai and forms the tier-one. The
tier-two set-up forms the disaster recovery centre and is based in Bangalore.
The DR centre lies in a different seismic zone. The connectivity between them
and across various branches is established with dedicated leased lines. These
lines are leased out from MTNL, BSNL and Bharti Enterprise.
Branches from across the country terminate at various Network Aggregation Points
(NAPs). The NAPs are simultaneously connected to the BoI data centre in Mumbai
and DR centre in Bangalore. The inter-connectivity is established based on point-to-point
protocol using leased lines.
Data travels through multiple leased lines from the data centre to the disaster
recovery centre. The core banking applications run on Finacle from Infosys and
the database is set up upon Oracle Financial Service Architecture.
The entire core banking applications run on multiple HP Superdome servers while
the storage solutions have been migrated to a HP StorageWorks XP1024 disk array.
This is further connected through leased lines to various Cisco switches and
routers deployed across the country in various branches forming a hub and spoke
topology. This topology uses a central point to co-ordinate activities between
the various branches and the data centre.
Apart from project management, HP also holds the responsibility of managing
the banks infrastructure which includes mainframes, Web and data servers,
network devices and desktops. The responsibilities also include upgrading the
applications and the software for core banking applications, telephone banking
and Internet banking. The deployment and implementation leaves enough room for
future increase in customer base and upgradation of deployed systems and network.
The IT deployment and transformations
in core banking and data warehousing have helped BoI to reduce its Total
Cost of Ownership. The deployment has almost achieved its prime objectives
of shifting from branch-centric automation to bank automation without
compromising on disaster recovery and business continuity processes
The deployment has complemented BoI to update its database through data mirroring
and remote auto backups. Management Information System and various critical
functions of controlling offices have been computerised.
At present, the operations at about 2,433 branches across the country are computerised
out of which 108 branches operate in partially-computerised mode. The bank is
a member of the RBIs VSAT Network and has installed about 39 VSATs linking
strategic branches and offices adding redundancy during disaster.
The IT deployment and transformations in core banking and data warehousing have
helped BoI to reduce its Total Cost of Ownership. The deployment has almost
achieved its prime objectives of shifting from branch-centric automation to
bank automation without compromising on disaster recovery and business continuity
The core banking application is deployed in 1,000 branches currently. It will
deployed at all the branches across the country, eventually.
BoI is also planning to introduce online cheque truncation facility for its
customers. Cheque truncation is the use of electronic (scanned) images of a
cheque for processing. This should further scale up the IT infrastructure and
operations at the bank.