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Choosing Your Disaster Recovery or Continuous Availability Solution from IBM GDPS Offerings

The GDPS family provides resource sharing, workload balancing, continuous availability benefits of a parallel sysplex environment and more.

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Data is king. Data is becoming a new natural resource. This is not only the most distinctive resource in the Internet age, but also the foundation for the competitive advantage companies aim. How a company makes good use of their data has become one of the hottest focus areas. However, we must not neglect a fundamental principle: how to protect the source data. Accuracy and currency of data are truly invaluable treasures. Protecting your data protects your treasure and your business lifeline.

Disaster recovery (DR) refers to the process of using technology, management tools and related resources to ensure that critical data, critical data processing systems, and critical business workloads can be recovered after a disaster. In the event of a disaster, the disaster backup center must take over the operations of the production center within a certain time, restore business operations within the established scope and ensure business continuity.

Disaster Recovery Challenges After September 11

Modern IT practices have also proved that data security for business continuity is vital for a company. Although many financial institutions in Europe and the US started DR and strengthened the construction of business continuity systems as early as the era of big data, it was not until the September 11 attacks that the financial industry began to pay real attention to the construction of DR capabilities and invested in manpower and resources to improve their level of business continuity. In the September 11 attacks, the massive data housed in the World Trade Center where many financial institutions were located was lost. Recovering that lost data was a major challenge for all financial institutions:
  • Deutsche Bank established a rigorous and credible Business Continuity Plan (BCP) as early as 1993. After the 9/11 disaster, Deutsche Bank mobilized resources of more than 4,000 employees and global branches. Deutsche Bank resumed business operations in an alternate site which was 30 kilometers away from Manhattan in a short time. It was well received by their customers and industry.
  • When Morgan Stanley was completely destroyed on the 25th floor and more than 3,000 employees were forced to evacuate, the second office was set up in their DR center within half an hour, and the entire business was resumed the next day. This could be described as a model of financial DR.
  • In contrast, the Bank of New York didn’t have a DR site nor a strong emergency business plan, so after their data center was destroyed and their communication line interrupted, a chain reaction occurred, and all relevant branches were shut down.
According to IDC statistics, in the US, 55% of companies that experienced disasters in the past 10 years before 2000 collapsed right after the disasters. Among the remaining 45%, 29% also collapsed within two years because of data loss; only 16% survived.
According to statistics, the financial industry will suffer the loss of 50% of daily turnover if their information system is shut down for two days after a disaster. If their information system is not recovered within two weeks, 75% of these companies will stop their business operations, and 43% will never open again. 60% of the companies that do not have a DR strategy will go bankrupt in the two to three years following a disaster.

Growing Disaster Recovery Awareness

In fact, businesses began to think about DR as early as the 1970s. In the 1980s, data center companies that provided DR for their customers began to be established. The DR awareness of customers has continued to grow. Relevant laws and regulations on viable disaster recovery plans were also formulated. In 1990, the famous Millennium bug made people realize the importance of business continuity based on the development of a DR plan. With the rise of the Internet and the exponential growth of e-commerce, data is more important than ever. Companies and organizations need to do better than just meet regulatory requirements when it comes to disaster preparedness and business continuity. Ensuring data security and improving business continuity have become indispensable in the increasingly fierce competition among companies.

Since the IBM mainframe was officially launched in 1964, it has played an important role in world economic activities. Many Fortune 500 customers have responded well to the challenges of the ups and downs of a global economy with the support of IBM mainframes. At the same time, these discerning customers have also made critical demands on IBM mainframes. Driven by customer demands, IBM business continuity solutions for mainframes are also becoming more comprehensive and mature.

The GDPS Family

The GDPS family of offerings is the most recommended IBM mainframe solution for DR and business continuity. GDPS is a multi-site or single-site end-to-end solution that provides the ability to automate the management of mainframe systems, disks and data replication, and to perform failure recovery from a single focal point.

GDPS also supports multiple disk replication architectures, automates the operation and maintenance of the sysplex, takes into consideration the data of both z/OS systems and open systems, and provides an open architecture that enables high flexibility for customization and tailoring.

The GDPS family of offerings provides continuous availability (CA) and DR capabilities for a wide range of environments. It provides customers with cross-site or cross-region recovery for sysplex failures and CA solutions that help automate recovery procedures for planned and unplanned workload outages. Nearly 20 years of customer adoption has made the product offerings of the GDPS family mature and reliable. From ensuring the disk subsystems’ high availability in a data center to realizing CA across three data centers located in two regions, GDPS provides customers with an automated one-click solution for sysplex or workload recovery, which greatly simplifies the complexity of production operations and maintenance, following an outage.
Figure 1

These offerings, also seen in Figure 1, are in the GDPS family:
  • The GDPS Metro HyperSwap Manager (GDPS Metro HM) provides CA of data within a single data center using synchronous disk replication. The recovery time objective (RTO) of a few seconds and recovery point objective (RPO) of zero allow the business applications to remain continuously available when a disk subsystem failure occurs.
  • The GDPS Metro solution can provide CA and DR solutions within the same metropolitan area using synchronous disk replication. The two data centers in the same region can be active. Depending on the configuration selected (single-site or multi-site), the RTO is a few seconds to an hour while the RPO=0.
  • The GDPS Global—Global Mirror (GM) and GDPS Global—Extended Remote Copy (XRC) can provide DR capabilities for two sites that can be any distance apart using asynchronous disk replication. In this configuration, there may be data loss (RPO of seconds) and RTO is under an hour.
  • GDPS Metro Global—GM is a mixture of the second and third options, providing a complete solution for three data centers in two regions. For recovery in the same region, RPO is zero and RTO is a few seconds to an hour. For recovery in the alternate regions, RPO is a few seconds and RTO is under an hour.
  • The GDPS Continuous Availability solution enables cross-site active-active and workload balancing to achieve CA for business-critical workloads. Data replication based on software replication technology is used to keep the data in the two sites in sync. IBM Multi-site Workload Lifeline is used to provide workload monitoring and intelligent workload balancing between the two sites. The GDPS Continuous Availability product provides a complete and unified management of the solution which enables the switching of workloads between sites to be completed in one click.
The above solutions are specific to a customer’s different DR or CA requirements (distance between sites, RPO, RTO). Figure 2 describes these requirements.
Offering name Distance RPO RTO
GDPS Metro HM In the same data center 0 0
GDPS Metro Metropolitan distance 0 Minutes to < 1hr
GDPS Global - GM & GDPS Global - XRC Unlimited distance Seconds < 1 hr
GDPS Metro Global - GM Metropolitan distance + Unlimited distance Metropolitan distance: 0
Unlimited distance: Seconds
Minutes to < 1hr
GDPS CA Unlimited distance Seconds Seconds
Figure 2

The GDPS family of offerings is designed to provide not only resource sharing, workload balancing and near CA benefits of a parallel sysplex environment, but it can enhance the capability of an enterprise to recover from disasters and planned and unplanned workload outages. GDPS solutions enable your business to achieve its own CA and DR goals with minimum application impact. Through proper planning and exploitation of IBM's GDPS technology, your enterprise can help protect your critical business data and applications. Find more information about IBM GDPS offerings on the GDPS website.
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