Many disaster recovery plans may be a disaster in the making

June 1, 2007
In a recent survey of more than 500 senior IT professionals conducted for data center software solutions provider Scalent Systems (, nearly 90% of respondents said that lack of updated testing...

In a recent survey of more than 500 senior IT professionals conducted for data center software solutions provider Scalent Systems (, nearly 90% of respondents said that lack of updated testing of their disaster recorery plan leaves them vulnerable to catastrophic failures in the event of another 9/11-type scenario.

The survey, overseen by Brilliant Ideas LLC (, found that most companies test their disaster recovery systems only once a year or less, while 70% indicated that it would take at least a half-day (and 50% said multiple days) for their servers to recover completely from failure, including restored software, configuration, and network and storage cabling and connectivity.

“Companies every day face a variety of threats that could bring their systems down,” says John Humphreys, program director at IDC Research ( “Even companies that don’t rely on their infrastructure for high-volume business transactions should recognize that slow recovery in the event of a disaster can seriously impact customers, employees, and shareholder value.”

The survey’s bad-news results could be good news for Scalant, which specializes in data center disaster recovery solutions. Its software is designed to encapsulate each existing server’s software stack, placing it on central storage, and then virtualizing the network and storage connectivity of each physical server so that any server (or set) can appear to be any others on the network. If any physical server fails, any other server can be “turned into” the failed server in the time it takes to reboot.

Calling it a “rack once, cable once” solution, Scalant says there is no need for manual re-imaging or re-cabling, and the replacement server becomes an exact duplicate of the original, thereby eliminating configuration issues.

“Put simply,” says Kevin Epstein, vice president of products, “it can take a situation from dead bare metal to a live (or revived) data center, in five minutes or less. Any failed server and applications connected to any network linked to any storage can be brought back in the space of boot time.”

Short runs…

RICHMOND, IN-Belden ( has launched a Wireless Integrator (BWI) Channel Program designed to build a network of systems integrators and contractor partners who are qualified to provide design, installation, and maintenance services for the company’s new wireless solutions. Participants in the program will be offered education, hands-on training, and certification in all aspects of Belden’s wireless solutions, including system design/concept, installation, testing, and maintenance. “The BWI program offers tremendous growth potential for integrators as market demand for wireless LANs increases,” says Bill Miller, director of adjacent technology marketing. “Contractors and installers specializing in the implementation of copper- and fiber-based structured cabling networks can gain new business opportunities by adding the wireless LAN option to their existing portfolio.” To learn more or to submit an application, visit the company’s Web site.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA-Corning, JDSU, Molex, Nortel, the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education (ACUTA), and the Open Fabrics Alliance are among the newest members of the Ethernet Alliance ( Specifically, the Alliance says JDSU joined to help shape current and emerging standards within the Ethernet industry, while Nortel joined to collaborate with other Alliance members on such areas as the IEEE High Speed Study Group and the Provider Backbone Bridges projects. The Ethernet Alliance is an industry consortium that promotes awareness, acceptance, and advancement of technology and products based on existing and emerging IEEE 802 Ethernet standards.

IRVINE, CA-Aktino’s ( broadband-over-copper wiring infrastructure technology has earned the company a finalist award from AeA, the nation’s largest high-tech trade association. The company is being recognized for its physical layer innovations inherent in its VDSL2-based MIMO-on-DMT technology (multiple input/multiple output on discrete multi-tone). The company says it was the first to deliver products for the business broadband services market based on DMT and with a MIMO architecture, enabling them to minimize crosstalk among copper pairs, and delivering longer reach and greater bandwidth. Michael Tsatsanis, Aktino chief scientist, says the company believes that “the real technology breakthroughs in multi-pair bonding for broadband-over-copper systems are in the area of crosstalk, and hence, the innovation will have to be at the physical layer.” The Aktino technology is designed to enable higher capacity, as well as greater reach and improved reliability.

LUMBERTON, NJ-Start-up IntelliPath ( has purchased a family of physical layer network connectivity solutions from Brocade Communications Systems (, and is now marketing them under the name Universal Connectivity System (UCS). The solutions are designed to help simplify physical layer network infrastructure by automating end-to-end network path management of fiber and copper. According to the company, benefits include better cost-efficiencies, as well as improved manageability, availability, and performance of the physical layer network infrastructure. “The increasing adoption of blade servers, network-attached storage, and the evolution towards all-IP infrastructures are trends that further complicate physical infrastructure management,” says Brad O’Neill, senior analyst for the Taneja Group ( “IntelliPath’s connectivity system brings automation and simplicity to the underlying infrastructure, resulting in real bottom-line value for customers.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-A new section of the InfiniBand architecture specifications-Annex A5: Pluggable Interfaces; CATx Copper and Optical-intends to provide a flexible way for companies to incorporate innovative cabling, higher bandwidth links, and active cabling technologies (including copper and fiber) into the InfiniBand specification. Released by the InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA;, the annex seeks to provide a standard electro-mechanical method for attaching cabling to InfiniBand products. With the pluggable connectors standard, IBTA says, new InfiniBand cabling solutions can be more rapidly brought to market. Benefits include: the ability to mix copper and fiber cabling; increased connector density versus what is provided with standard copper connectors; definitions for more modern pluggable devices; and more types of pluggable devices than were included in previous specifications. “In developing this annex, the IBTA was looking to provide a way for InfiniBand and other technologies to take advantage of different types of industry-standard cables by providing a standard form factor into which they can be plugged,” says Paul Grun, principal engineer at Intel. “We are already seeing a lot of industry interest in this specification.”

CORNING, NY-Corning ( Vascade EX 1000 optical fiber has been specified for the submarine cable that will be supplied to Faroese Telecom for the SHEFA-2 network connecting the Faroe, Shetland and Orkney islands with the mainland of Scotland. The direct link between the islands of Faroe and Shetland presents the biggest challenge, Corning says, with requirements including the capability to transmit up to 19x10 Gbits/sec on a single fiber pair without using remote optical pumped amplifiers. The Corning fiber was selected for its average attenuation values of ≤0.170 dB/km. In other recent contracts and installations:

• Meru Networks’ ( wireless LAN and wireless backbone systems (WBS) have been installed in the largest mesh network in Belgium, providing broadband Internet access to all students and campus visitors at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels/Universite libre de Bruxelles. The company’s fourth-generation WLAN system provides delivery for high-density data, toll-quality voice, and streaming video Wi-Fi applications, while the WBS extends these services to outdoor areas and remote locations through a wireless backbone and mesh repeating scheme that provides end-to-end quality of service and security.

• Charleston Southern University, an all-wireless campus in South Carolina, began delivering live video and audio streaming of its NCAA soccer and softball events this spring, aided by Xirrus Inc. ( Wi-Fi Arrays. The arrays supplement the existing wireless network to span an outdoor area stretching from the Learning Center to the soccer and softball fields. By using the multiple radios and the internal, high-gain directional antennas of the Xirrus technology, the university says it was able to connect various points on the campus with high-bandwidth wireless backhauls capable of supporting multiple video and audio streams, eliminating the need to run thousands of feet of cable.

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