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Issue of January 2007

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CA XOsoft: on the road

Educating the customers is key to developing the market for any product. CA recently held a series of events for its XOsoft portfolio. The Delhi event was attended by CIOs, CTOs and other eminent decision makers from diverse industry segments. Although the attendees represented different industry backgrounds and verticals, there was a common thought on every attendee’s mind and it was that they were all looking to enable their IT infrastructure to deal with critical issues such as disaster recovery, information security and data protection.

CA showcased some cutting edge technologies that provide valid answers for many problems in any IT environment. While explaining the major challenges for any important IT infrastructure, Pravir Arora, Head – Channels India & SAARC said, “In today’s scenario the demand for securing data is continuously rising, along with the growing complexity in an IT environment, the need to store and manage information is growing. In any environment, the importance of data is at it’s peak. Threats from disasters are always there. So, in such scenarios organisations need a comprehensive solution that can take care of their multiple demands.”

While raising some critical issues at the event, CA’s top executives discussed following:

Disaster Recovery and DR Planning

As far as the industry’s awakening is concerned, everyone is talking about disaster recovery planning and how important it is to be prepared for any emergency that can have an impact on business-critical operations. How do you put together a sound DR plan? There’s lots of information out there, but where do you actually begin? Further elaborating on the development of a comprehensive disaster readiness plan generally encompasses these three steps:

  • Identify the processes and resources that are truly business-critical
  • Develop realistic and necessary recovery objectives for those processes and resources
  • Determine how you can achieve your DR objectives as simply and cost-effectively as possible

Pointing out some critical issues and questions related to Disaster Recovery (DR), Arora said, “Any amount of application downtime results in lost productivity, revenue, customers, and opportunities. XOsoft’s suite of data replication, file replication and database replication software provides the protection required by IT professionals to ensure the availability of mission critical applications.”

Further elaborating about the planning for disaster recovery, Kar said, “Good disaster recovery planning is about identifying those processes and resources that are truly critical, developing realistic recovery objectives for them, and then developing a plan that can achieve those objectives as simply and cost-effectively as possible.”

The price of information

Soma Kar

After highlighting the importance of keeping and maintaining information, Soma Kar, Consultant, CA said, “The primary information management concern in today’s enterprise is to ensure that the knowledge necessary to drive critical business processes is available where it needs to be, when it needs to be.” She also highlighted that organisations are continuously thinking of safeguarding themselves from loss of information. “Companies are in no mood to lose information for the cost of losing information is high,” Kar added.

A recent study of 80 large organisations by Infonetics Research found that overall downtime costs averaged an astounding 3.6 percent of a company’s annual revenues.

Data replication

Emphasizing the criticality of data replication, CA executives discussed the complexity of data replication. Kar added, “Tape backup may be fine for most businesses, but for any institution that handles a significant amount of money in daily transactions, an hour of downtime can mean a loss of tens of thousands of dollars.” In addition to this, failing to meet data replication and restoration requirements brings about intangible costs such as the risk to a company’s reputation and, in some industries, the risk of violating federal guidelines, he added.

While highlighting the capabilities of CA’s product portfolio, Kar said, “With WANSync, file replication and database replication can be managed across dissimilar platforms and applications from different vendors. The ability to perform data replication at great distances over a company’s WAN, with automated failover to the replica server, significantly reduces the time to restore or recover should downtime occur. The software continuously performs file replication to the second source without freezing the application at the primary location.”

Effective DR and BCP

CA executive shares the dais

The seminar on XOsoft in Bangalore was attended by close to 225 delegates comprising of CIOs and IT Managers from companies across the city. Speaking on the topic ‘Business Continuity through DR Planning’ Pravir Arora, head-Channels, India and SAARC, CA, highlighted the importance of DR planning and said that disasters were always in the news and that the growth of the Indian economy has contributed to huge amounts of data being generated. Therefore proper steps are necessary to ensure that DR plans are in place.

Arora also remarked that disasters were creating a peculiar situation in an organisation where it had faced huge revenue and productivity losses and had damaged its reputation, as the SLAs to its customers were not honoured. Citing an example from a Gartner report Arora said that 60 percent of companies in the US did not have a basic BCP and Indian numbers would be on the higher side. He said that even in the case of one third of organisations that had a BCP, their plans did not include a recovery sequence for business functions in that organisation. Arora remarked that organisations should focus on risk mitigation and successful mitigation required a proper layering of their business priorities. Ratio between the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) was important for effective DR implementation. The important thing in any disaster was how early an organisation could recover from it and start functioning normally.

In his presentation, Raghunandan B, consulting manager-Southern India and Srilanka, CA, said that around 33 percent of BCP were not implemented properly. He also highlighted the various steps of DR planning such as planning policy statement, business impact analysis and the RTO. Raghunandan added that majority of companies do not have tools to test BCP. He said that analysis of the quantum of investment, which was required to implement a proper BCP, was essential.

The presentations were followed by a detailed demonstration of the new CA XOsoft, which had an inquisitive audience posing questions on the new product offering by CA.

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