AFS boosts business with disaster recovery

The region’s banks are beginning to demand disaster recovery solutions from their third party service providers. As such, Arab Financial Services is expanding its disaster recovery capabilities.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  August 27, 2002

The Middle East’s banks are beginning to demand disaster recovery solutions from their third party service providers. As such, outsourced credit card processing company, Arab Financial Services (AFS), is expanding its disaster recovery capabilities by investing in a number of IBM technologies. With its improved disaster recovery set up in place, the company will then be able to grow its business more effectively.

“Banks that come to the bureau want a good disaster recovery capability. It is a business risk if we do not have one,” says Simon Clements, general manager, AFS.

As such, AFS has teamed up with IBM and its local partner, GBM, to extend its current solution and implement a mirror site to protect its business critical data. Scheduled for completion by the end of the year, the site will comprise a zSeries mainframe running OS/390 and two Shark Enterprise Storage Servers, each capable of supporting more than 45000 I/Os per second.

“The disaster recover site will basically be a replica of the production centre, although it will have slightly less capacity because in a disaster situation we anticipate some reduction in service,” explains Clements.

“Eventually we will have a mirrored site that will be capable of storing 420 G/bytes of data with scalability to 2 T/bytes,” he adds.

By using the Shark servers in both the production and back up environment, AFS will be able to synchronise the data held in each environment through the storage set up’s Peer-to-Peer Remote Copy (PPRC) functionality.

“With PPRC the data on the back up site is a mirror image of the production. This means that the disaster recovery centre will only require a minimum start-up time to restore the data, which would mainly be for the communications to be re-routed,” comments Clements.

In order to manage its storage environment at both the production and disaster recovery sites, AFS has deployed IBM’s Data Facility Storage Management Subsystem (DFSMS). The software provides the company with allocation, back up and restore functions while allowing the company to control the mirrored storage environment and ensure all production data is available when needed. The DFSMS also controls the enterprise storage servers and PPRC functions.

“DFSMS works on defined policies for dataset allocation, back up and retention. It employs a Hierarchical Storage Management concept to migrate unused datasets from the online storage to tape automatically when they met defined criteria. This ensures that there is enough space for critical datasets and that there is always a back up available,” explains Clements.

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