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Tesco sourcing team cherry-picks DR software in cloud

Carol Ko (Computerworld HK) | Sept. 30, 2013
How a 10-person IT team in Hong Kong secures corporate data for the world's third largest sourcing organisation

"In other Asian locations, IT isn't as strong as that in Hong Kong or the UK. Our remote offices used to use tape drives to store their backups," Liu said. "Five years ago we couldn't afford to do remote data backup, even if we wanted to. Bizconline didn't exist, bandwidth was expensive, and it was expensive to build a remote site given our dispersed office locations."

In 2011, TIS selected Bizconline's cloud DR solution through Jardine OneSolution (JOS). For TIS, JOS implemented the cloud DR solution while Bizconline provided the backend technology and support.

"Cloud-based DR is even easier to manage because the images are centrally located in Hong Kong—the JOS DR site in Kwai Fong. Other than setting up a fixed location for DR such as Hong Kong, cloud DR also enables us to set up a temporary DR site in another location to effectively use data," Liu said.

"We considered various solutions from different vendors, including the use of virtual machines. Our three key criteria for vendor selection were technology, knowledge, and the vendor's ability to deliver," said Liu.

Near-warm backup
"Bizconline's approaches cloud-based DR by turning cold backup to near-warm backup," said Alex Li, founder, Bizconline. "Near-warm backup is currently a no man's land in technology: an uncharted space between high availability (a costly way of doing a SAN storage failover) and cold backup (the use of tape drives)."

"Our cloud-based DR technology supports the rolling back of data to any point in time, because we turn backups into a data warehouse with everything logged," he said.

"We created a new standard by enabling daily automatic DR drills," said Li. "We treat DR drills as if the server suffered from total breakdown on a daily basis. Our technology enables the client to resume business in a cloud environment, and we can verify the entire business flow with our clients."

Single day site recovery
TIS conducts DR drills at two levels: IT and user. "With Bizconline's cloud DR, IT can easily schedule a time to conduct DR drills," said Liu, "and it proved fast data recovery."

At user-level, Liu invites about 20 TIS staff members from different departments including commercial, finance and HR. All participants go through their own set of procedures which simulate their work routines, which range from emailing, receiving emails on BlackBerry devices, data processing, payroll issuing, bank connection to order placement. "Our requirements for DR drill aren't simple, and we are very serious about our DR drills," Liu said.

"In the old days, our DR drill participants needed to sit for half a day, and could only observe how slowly DR worked," Liu recalled. "Since we implemented cloud-based DR 1.5 years ago, the more experienced users can complete DR drills in half an hour."


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