A detailed disaster recovery plan, which is practiced on a regular basis, will limit the interruption to your business when you have to deal with a real disruption. Aspect has long understood the importance of business continuity to contact center operations, and our commitment to providing dependable solutions informs every phase of our development process.
Agents who work from a data center or telephony site that experiences a disaster event may not be able to relocate to one of the remaining data centers or telephony sites due to distance constraints or safety concerns (such as impassable roads where the agents live).
In figure 2, the telephony infrastructure resides in one or more locations separate from the data centers.
Andrew Feldmann is an EMC Corporate Systems Engineer with the RecoverPoint VPLEX Business Unit specializing in the VPLEX product. Figure 1 shows the high level overview of the architecture to achieve live mobility and fully automated DR for enterprise applications across two data centers with 10 ms. EMC RecoverPoint is an enterprise-scale solution designed to protect application data on heterogeneous SAN-attached servers and storage arrays. By using products like NetIQ Access Manager and Novell ZENworks, all services, applications, and data can be rendered through the Internet, allowing for loss of service at one site but still providing full access to the services and data by virtue of the ubiquity of the Internet. A stretch cluster and a cluster of clusters are two clustering implementations that you can use with Novell Cluster Services to achieve your desired level of disaster recovery.
A stretch cluster consists of a single cluster where the nodes are located in two geographically separate data centers.
A cluster of clusters consists of multiple clusters in which each cluster is located in a geographically separate data center. In the cluster-of-clusters architecture shown in Figure 1-2, the data is synchronized by the SAN hardware between two data centers that are geographically separated.
While part 1 focused on a couple of high-level deployment options for disaster recovery solutions, part 2 concentrates on the location of telephony infrastructure. Consequently, understanding how the location of the devices in the telephony infrastructure contributes to business continuity for the contact center is crucial. This solution enables your business to continue, albeit at a reduced capacity, until additional agent resources can be directed to the available data center(s).
A reduced capacity contact center application would need fewer compute resources, thus making it a cost-effective solution. Failure to have a robust and efficient mobility and fully automated disaster recovery solution can result in millions of dollars of lost revenue and employee productivity. This architecture is based on EMC's 20-plus years of expertise in designing, implementing, and perfecting enterprise-class intelligent cache and distributed data protection solutions.
It also supports synchronous distributed volumes that mirror data between the two clusters using write-through caching. RecoverPoint runs on a dedicated appliance and combines industry-leading continuous data protection technology with a bandwidth-efficient, no-data-loss replication technology, allowing it to protect data both locally and remotely without the associated degradation of application performance.
Customers can now deploy Data Center Interconnect (DCI) between sites without changing or reconfiguring the existing network design. For example, a company that has their primary site in South Florida and a recovery site in North Carolina would have significant distance between the sites, but could still both be impacted by a single hurricane. Data-block replication can be done by host-based mirroring for synchronous replication over short distances up to 10 km. The actual distance is limited only by the SAN hardware and media interconnects for your deployment.
All nodes in the cluster must be in the same eDirectory tree, which requires the eDirectory replica ring to span data centers. The server nodes in both data centers are part of one cluster, so that if a disaster occurs in one data center, the nodes in the other data center automatically take over. When one data center becomes unavailable, all the telephony resources can be devoted to the remaining data center. Typically, replication of data blocks between storage systems in the data centers is performed by SAN hardware that allows synchronous mirrors over a greater distance. After a loss of the main data center, the backup of the contact center application must be brought online at the second data center. Both data centers have compute, network, and storage components from Cisco, VMware, and EMC to efficiently run the virtualized applications. Both data centers are active and connected by a 10 Gbps Ethernet WAN link for IP communication and 4G FC link (using dark fiber) to enable storage replication for the live mobility solution. In 2007, 22% of respondents reported that the distance between their primary data center and farthest backup data center was greater than 1,000 miles, while in 2010, only 12% claimed this distance. David Antkowiak is a Consulting Systems Engineer with the Data Center Enterprise South Sales Team. Scott Bookman is a Senior Program Manager (Technical) in EMC's RecoverPoint VPLEX Business Unit. Marina Kvitnitsky is a Product Manager for VPLEX, a product within the EMC RecoverPoint VPLEX Business Unit.
To meet ever growing IT infrastructure needs and to ensure business continuity in case of a site-level disaster, it is critical to have live mobility and fully automated, efficient disaster recovery (DR) processes for virtualized enterprise applications across data centers. Fully automated DR allows customers to protect their mission critical enterprise applications against site-level disasters and ensures business continuance.

The client virtual machines running the application load generation test tools (Swingbench and Microsoft Visual Studio) were hosted on a small virtual infrastructure outside the data centers in a typical WAN branch office setup. Cisco UCS Manager provides a unified management domain with centralized management capabilities. Cisco Nexus 7000 Series offers an end-to-end solution in one platform for data center core, aggregation, and high-density, end-of-row and top-of-rack server connectivity. The Cisco MDS 9513 Multilayer Director is a high-performance, protocol-independent, director-class SAN switch that meets stringent enterprise data center storage requirements.
EMC VPLEX represents the next-generation architecture for data mobility and information access. Figure 4 shows the logical architecture for the solution that enables virtualized applications live mobility across data centers with up to 10 ms RTT latency between them. Cisco OTV lets the virtual machines maintain the same IP address and gateway in both data centers and Cisco LISP ensures network route optimization for the client-server traffic after VM migration. OTV allows you to deploy virtual computing resources and clusters across geographically distributed data centers, delivering transparent workload mobility, business resiliency, and superior computing resource efficiencies.
With severe storm season on the horizon and the lingering threat of winter weather, this is often the time of year when businesses turn an eye to disaster preparedness and risk mitigation. In the words of the Disaster Recovery Journal, “there is no rule of thumb when it comes to the appropriate distance between your data center and your recovery site.” For some businesses, a good disaster recovery site could be as far away as 1,000 miles.
According to the Disaster Recovery Journal, 76 percent of companies haven’t declared an official disaster in the past five years—that means that nearly a quarter of companies have. Most large companies are capable of building and managing disaster recovery sites of their own, but that means they have to pay for power, management, land use and operating expenses for two or more sites. Determining the appropriate distance between sites for your business is a personal affair based exclusively on your needs and requirements.
Learn more about NetStandard’s data centers here, or visit our dedicated disaster recovery solutions page here.
On March 27, experts from Aspect and Miercom will be hosting an informational webinar on High Availability for the Contact Center: Ensuring Customer Service Continuity to share their insights on meeting evolving customer expectations, with advice to help you limit or eliminate the experience of downtime for customers interacting with your contact center. Disaster recovery planning involves many facets of your business, only a few of which have been presented in this series. Since the topic of disaster recovery seems to resonate with many of you I am extending the series. Aspect's blogs share and comment on technology news, trends, real-life customer experiences, tips, techniques and best practices for organizations embracing the power of unified communications to enhance customer experience and bottom-line business results across the contact center, the enterprise and beyond. For clustering implementations that are deployed in data centers in different geographic locations, the data must be replicated between the storage subsystems at each data center. In the stretch-cluster architecture shown in Figure 1-1, the data is mirrored between two data centers that are geographically separated. A single SBD is mirrored between two sites by using host-based mirroring, which limits the distance between data centers to 10 km.
Typically, the amount of telephony resources would be overprovisioned at each data center so that the same number of contact transactions is processed regardless of whether both data centers are available or not.
Haseeb has over twelve years of experience in multi-tenancy, security, and data center related technologies. LISP ensures that after vMotion the client-server application traffic does not have to traverse one data center to get to the other data center where the application was moved using vMotion. Excessive distance can be troublesome as well, especially when it comes to latency and bandwidth—replicating data between the sites can become expensive and slow. The data is replicated between locations by using host-based mirroring or storage-based mirroring. This configuration is cost effective when the data centers are located close to the contact population. While the pictures show both data centers in an active state, the design works equally well for a deployment where one data center is active and the other is standby.
In case of Data Center 1 failure, traffic destined to the application network would be re-routed to the Data Center 2 within the MPLS cloud. If the recovery procedures require any staff to physically enter the data center, distance from corporate headquarters can be a barrier to recovery.
He has 5 years experience with the VPLEX technology and over 20 years experience in the computer and data storage field.
VPLEX eliminates the need for manual, time consuming VM data migrations across data centers. While there are a number of important considerations to take into account when planning your business continuity efforts, the one we hear about time and again is how much distance is really necessary between the main work site (where business information is obtained and used) and a disaster recovery site (where business information is replicated for restoration purposes and work can be performed in the event of catastrophe). While the prospects of needing a recovery site may not seem likely, research from Forrester indicates the impacts of such an event can be substantial. Small and mid-sized companies have to be a bit savvier with their budgets, and for them, opting for an IT service provider with disaster recovery solutions can help them mitigate their risks without breaking the bank.
Uptime, latency and the data you will recover are all dependent on your recovery requirements. Unless your company is very large, building your own recovery site is financially out of the question.

If you plan on managing your recovery site with your own IT resources, you’ll need to consider the importance of accessibility in the event of a disaster. As reaching out to the contact center becomes a last resort for customers, the stakes grow higher. The answers to these questions should enable you to assess the importance of your contact center operations and apply a cost-benefit analysis to the various disaster recovery solutions.
Yes; typically uses storage-based mirroring, but host-based mirroring is possible for distances up to 10 km.
This installment focuses on the use of multiple data centers, typically located hundreds of miles from each other. This enables the same number of contact transactions to be processed even in the event of a data center outage. What's interesting here is that between 2007 and 2010, survey respondents reported shorter distances between primary and secondary data centers. In the chart below you can see how far apart companies were locating their recovery sites in 2007 and in 2010. Remember that during a large scale disaster, your employees will most likely be most concerned with their families and property, and may not be willing to get in a car and drive for 8 hours to reach the recovery site. Scott started his career in 2003 in the system test field and led the effort to build a test center of excellence in 2007. IN NO EVENT SHALL CISCO OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, LOST PROFITS OR LOSS OR DAMAGE TO DATA ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE DESIGNS, EVEN IF CISCO OR ITS SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. However, these applications do not have any requirement for live mobility across data centers.
In 2010, for example, the average time needed to recover from an event was 18.5 hours, and the main events were not caused by natural disasters. These providers will offer disaster recovery site services based on monthly costs that don’t fluctuate with changes in the tax code, power costs or salary inflation.
If your business is in the line of fire for hurricanes, for example, then you will want to look for a recovery site that is more than 100 miles away from your main site—this should prevent a hurricane event from taking out both your main site and your recovery site.
Before you build a disaster recovery plan and select a recovery site, know where individuals will work and what applications must be recovered (and in what order) and how fast they need to be or can be recovered. Instead, look for a service provider that can handle your recovery needs for you—your accounting team and IT staff will be happier for it.
Your staff will not only need to be able to physically access the site (meaning, you won’t want to have it too far away from your primary location), but you’ll also have to consider if they are willing to leave their families in the midst of a disaster. In a given year, businesses may be susceptible to the impact of natural disasters or other events that threaten their operations. In most contact centers, the primary communication channel for contact transactions is voice.
While agents and contacts are processed through a main data center, a second data center contains the infrastructure necessary to run the contact center application should the main data center become unavailable.
Through manual backup processes or automatic Storage Area Network (SAN) replication technology, the application is periodically copied from the main data center to this second data center. Fortunately, a recent disaster recovery project had been completed, preserving critical applications and patient records in another data center 250 miles from Joplin. Hospital services were restored within a week, in part through a temporary facility in Joplin and access to patient information in the remote data center.
If your business instead faces threats from tornadoes, 10 miles is an appropriate distance for your recovery site. Generally, the farther one site is from another, the higher the delay in the delivery of each packet, or “latency.” If your recovery site is too far away, your data might not mirror in real time, and thus, a disaster could cause some data loss. Using server virtualization for the infrastructure of the second data center allows the physical servers in the second data center to be used for other functions (such as development or other less critical applications) until needed for your contact center applications. Without the right tools and functionality, the contact center is at a distinct disadvantage in addressing customer issues. Depending on the nature of the disaster, agents may be in a location where they cannot access the available data center(s). Likewise, using the cloud for this second data center is another low-cost deployment option, as the pay-as-you-use cloud model would only be employed should the main data center be inaccessible.
The tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011, reinforced the need for thorough disaster planning and recovery, and contact center operations are a critical function in such situations. In this design, two or more data centers actively process a subset of the agent and contact transactions.
Experts from Miercom and Aspect will share their insights on meeting evolving customer expectations, with advice to help you limit or eliminate the experience of downtime for customers interacting with your contact center.
Using more work from home agents reduces the percentage of the agent population impacted by a disaster event.

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