Building Business Continuity into the Heart of a System

While business continuity goes further than IT and data protection, it’s a sign of the times when computer hardware manufacturers start building BC directly into their systems. Twenty years ago, BC in the guise of “100% uptime” fault tolerant systems was the select domain of companies like Tandem and Stratus. Although costing less than some of the extravagant solutions of the time, their products were nonetheless expensive compared to standard computer server offerings. So what is Intel, mass-market chip and systems manufacturer, up to with its recent “best-in-class” business continuity announcement?

Intel is collaborating with another company, InMage Systems, to embed the latter’s recovery technologies for business continuity directly into Intel server boards and systems. Intel sees this as a plus for the small and medium business market, plugging its new offering as using data protection that has been relied on by the “most demanding” organisations. It has named its offering the “Intel Server Continuity Suite” and advertises its simplicity for managing server hardware, storage and backup. Data is backed up in real time and, to pull out a couple of favourite acronyms, RTO (recovery time objective) and RPO (recovery point objectives are both “almost immediate”.

It might not be the fault tolerance offered by some of the bigger systems, but then again, Intel can offer rather lower costs and now the possibility to simply reroute to a duplicate and still relatively inexpensive system, if need be. It’s Internet-style thinking that having branched out into cloud backup at one end is now also pervading the customers’ machines at the other end, in the sense of automatic reconfiguration in case of problems. So what is there left to do in business continuity at a hardware level? Quite a lot, actually, starting with testing such systems to make sure backups, once made, are still truly accessible and usable.