Midrange Shops Get Disaster Recovery Services from IBM
October 29, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
IBM‘s Global Services group has been trying to find a way to get a larger slice of the budget at small and medium businesses in its own customer base for many years. And with a new offering with the unwieldy name of Disaster Recovery Services for Data Center Recovery–Recovery Express, IBM thinks it has just the right thing to not only help it keep its services business growing, but to help customers who cannot afford a full-blown high availability cluster to use IBM’s own machines in its own data centers as hot backups.
Of course, IBM has offered hot backup services before to its OS/400, AIX, and Windows customers, but it has not productized them in such a way that they are easily understandable and quantifiable. The Recovery Express offering has pre-set processing, memory, and disk capacities that customers choose from, using model numbers much as they pick an IBM server. The Recovery Express offering also has something else–a price list tied to these features so customers know how deep the water is as they implement a disaster recovery plan that designates IBM as the hot backup site for their own data center. In the past, these kinds of disaster recovery services were configured on a customer-by-customer basis, and pricing was negotiated individually, which made it a harder sell. And according to Mike Riegel, director of mid-market services at IBM’s Global Technology Services unit within the Global Services group, IBM has also pared back extra services that SMB customers do not need initially (but may want in the future), to get that sticker price as low as possible.
“For a long time now, customers with between 100 and 1,000 employees had two options when it came to disaster recovery,” explains Riegel. “The first is the ‘do nothing’ option, which is in fact what most SMB customers do. The other option they have is to build a full disaster recovery hot site. These are two extreme ends of the disaster recovery spectrum, and these choices have frustrated customers. They are uncomfortable not having a DR plan, but they can’t afford to do anything.”
Earlier this year, IBM started selling online backup services for systems, which do a full system backup over a secure Internet channel and then do incremental backups to keep data in synch on a term and with a capacity that customers are willing to pay for. Typical pricing for these online backup services runs to $5 per GB per month, according to Riegel.
The Recovery Express services just announced by IBM mesh with these backup services, but if customers want to get their data to IBM’s hot backup sites by mailing or delivering tapes to the center, this is fine by IBM. Customers go to a designated IBM recovery center, which is one of IBM’s 154 worldwide data centers. IBM picks a center that is close enough for company personnel to get to, but far enough away that the probably that disaster takes out both the company site and the IBM backup site is reduced as low as is practical.
IBM is offering Recovery Services for System i, System p, and System x servers in the following configurations. Recovery Express configurations for System i and i5/OS workloads are:
Recovery Express configurations for System p and AIX and Linux workloads:
Recovery Express configurations for System x and Windows and Linux workloads:
The IBM data centers have UPS and diesel generator backup, dual power grids coming into the site, security badge access and 24×7 human security, and the usual fire, smoke, and water protection systems. IBM also provides virtual private networking connectivity for between 10 and 300 end users, and has lounges, kitchenettes, and cafeteria service for employees stuck in the center during recoveries; hotels are also nearby. IBM makes the machinery available within 24 to 48 hours of declaration of an emergency, which may seem like a long time, but you get what you pay for in this world. The price for the base Recovery Services offering runs from $100 a month for the smaller configurations to over $1,000 a month for the larger configurations. IBM is always happy to take more money for more capacity or faster response.
Recovery Services is currently available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, and Singapore, says Riegel. IBM is planning to ramp it up in other countries as soon as it can.