Stats Watch: NZ disaster waiting for recovery

Hot backup sites -- where one system is in a standby mode, ready to take over the load from a failing system -- seem to be in demand. True hot backup redundancy is expensive, but IDC predicts a healthy future for the multitude of disaster recovery vendors in the Asia-Pacific.

September 11 caused "hot backup" sites -- where one system is in a standby mode, ready to take over the load from a failing system -- to be in hot demand, Veritas's Sydney-based Rosemary Stark told Computerworld at the end of last year.

This observation appears to be backed up by reports littering the pages of this publication over the past few months. Organisations from Farmers Trading to the Electoral Enrolment Centre, IRD, Auckland City Council and the Accident Compensation Commission now claim off-site storage and disaster recovery systems as tough as any.

But true hot backup redundancy is expensive, notes Stark, and may only be cost-justified if the site is kept busy outsourcing services, testing developments and the like.

Nevertheless, IDC predicts a healthy future for the multitude of disaster recovery vendors in the Asia-Pacific: market growth from $US551 million last year to $US1.3 billion by 2006 is anticipated.

Demand for business continuity services in Australia, Korea and Singapore are fuelling much of the expected growth. The developing countries are obviously attractive to vendors, but New Zealand is seen, along with Malaysia, from technological, infrastructural, government policy and cost perspectives to be a key sales target market. Could our remoteness be a factor? IDC says e-commerce investment by service providers and customers’ need to penetrate new markets and expand throughout the region are driving disaster recovery demand.

Stark says New Zealand companies appear to be more willing to spend on new kinds of backup like wide area clustering with hot backup capability than US firms, probably because they are generally smaller and the chains of command shorter. Some of the banks locally – which all claim near-infallible disaster recovery systems -- are employing new tools to come back from catastrophe that much more quickly. BNZ's investments and insurance operation says its use of Princeton Softech Active Archive on its Sybase database should speed backups and disaster recovery, as well as reduce the glut of data.

ASB, meanwhile, recently went for Axon spin-off AME Software’s AME Secure Server Deploy tool, which promises to rebuild, hands free, any server that breaks down to a “last known good” basis. Banks increasingly need to define their operational risk profile more precisely under international directives such as the New Basel Capital Accord – particularly given their strong reliance on technology, their dependence on global electronic financial systems and widespread use of outsourcing.

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