In its 30-day disaster-recovery scenario, Society Insurance would have relied on transferring data processing and application hosting to a third-party facility. Recovery activities would have required physically taking servers and software onsite and setting them up at that location.
"That didn't exactly make for easy, efficient testing of disaster recovery processes," Konop says. "And it certainly contributed to the lengthy time lag before normal operations could resume."
The firm's existing infrastructure could have supported basic business functions such as conducting inquiries. However, it would not have allowed employees to readily perform underwriting, claims processing and other core insurance functions in a timely fashion as their jobs, and customer needs, require.
The company considered blade servers as an option to provide additional flexibility and speed in terms of resuming normal operations. Society Insurance also considered replication and recovery solutions based at the operating system level on each server, for example NSI Double-Take.
In either case, the technology didn't provide the desired reduction in physical equipment and infrastructure. "It would have been close to a one-to-one replication" of hardware, Konop explains. Notably, more physical equipment also means more costs at the disaster-recovery location. And that means undesired additional overhead and complexity for business continuity.
Instead, the company's IT leaders opted to deploy server virtualization. The technology allows the firm to streamline and enhance infrastructure while at the same time increasing manageability and speed when it comes to Business Continuty (BC).
Server virtualization aggregates data center resources, including processing, memory, storage and network to support virtual workloads. It also allows the sharing of physical resources to increase overall utilization, the reduction of costs through hardware consolidation, and provides a hardware-independent platform which provides flexibility in recovery through the use of virtual machines.
From an administrative standpoint, this means easier management. IT professionals can manage these virtual machines, both the system state and data, as objects which can be easily moved and replicated.