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Containing costs by leveraging existing IT infrastructure and mainframe technology keeps the total cost of the enterprise backup and recovery solution to a minimum. It's a win-win situation. Server administrators are relieved of the growing burden of backup and the enterprise has minimized the cost of providing a scalable backup and recovery system.
Companies that utilize the mainframe environment in backup and recovery overcome the shortfalls of de-centralization without turning back the clock on their end-users. Leveraging SAN technology to connect mainframe and open systems allows for ultra high speeds of transferring backup and recovery data back and forth between the platforms. In the mainframe environment, the accumulated terabytes of backup data from all the open systems servers and workstations are not a threat - just another day at the office for the mainframe.
Obviously, the mainframe is a central resource, and even in enterprises with several data centers, there will typically be scores of remote locations, compared to very few central sites. How, in such situations, could the mainframe become an integral part of a backup solution for such environments? Well, In addition to reliability and scalability, today's mainframe also stands for manageability, and that feature can be made available to the entire enterprise, from central to remote, from servers to workstations and from individual files to intricate database structures.
As a working example, Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio backs up over 90 different desktops and servers running eight different operating systems located at the main and branch campuses. The day-to-day backup work for this distributed application is managed by the mainframe due to the many advantages it delivers including speed and efficiency. The mainframe includes many standard ease-of-use utilities, which help perform standard tasks such as figuring out which tapes are needed for backup. Many open system applications require the system administrator to manage this task.
While speed of backup is an important factor, it is often the speed of recovery that can make or break a company. According to a META Group survey more than 30% of companies that suffer a catastrophic disaster such as fire, flood or earthquake, never reopen their doors. What's more, of the companies surveyed more than 70% had not yet developed a disaster recovery and business continuity plan. Creating a disaster recovery plan focusing on the mainframe with its ability to quickly recover data simply makes sense in today's world. Add to that the fact that the mainframe offers unrivalled availability and that experts (in the areas of policy management, practices and procedures) are located in the mainframe data center, and the reasons for relying on the mainframe are even more compelling.
Companies need to take a fresh look at the mainframe as it no longer presents a threat to end users. Instead, the mainframe can provide safety, reliability and peace of mind for every application manager in the enterprise. Data centers now have the opportunity to establish themselves as service providers again, and this time around it can be as backup service providers for one simple reason. Because the mainframe is well suited for the task.
About the Author : Christian Traue is the Director of Product Management for Tantia Technologies