EMC Claims a Disputed ‘First’

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EMC is claiming the first integrated failover and recovery demonstration of a production application over transatlantic distances, although VERITAS – with backing from an industry analyst – contends it accomplished the same four years earlier.

EMC and Fujitsu Siemens Computers report they demonstrated the global failover and recovery of a live SAP ERP application between data centers located in Hopkinton, Mass., and Cork, Ireland. Four minutes and thirty-five seconds after the intentional failure in Hopkinton, which occurred at 10:57AM EDT Wednesday, the recovery location in Cork was running and fully processing SAP transactions, the companies say.

Calling it “the first-of-its-kind integrated failover and recovery demonstration of a production application over transatlantic distances,” the companies report they were demonstrating a new solution comprising EMC’s high-performance SRDF/Asynchronous remote replication software, Symmetrix DMX GigE multi-protocol channel directors, and Fujitsu Siemens’ PRIMECLUSTER product suite for high availability.

While quite an accomplishment, it’s apparently not a first, according to VERITAS and ESG’s Steve Kenniston.

“We have done this as a demo, and in fact, we have many customers who do global failover, not just of applications, but of entire data centers in real time,” says VERITAS spokesperson Jeremy Roe. “What EMC announced today is nothing new from our perspective.”

“This is in no way the world’s first,” says Kenniston, technology analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, who advised EMC not to make the claim. “VERITAS Software, with their GEOCluster software, performed a failover that was way more inclusive than this. They did a local failover with VERITAS Cluster Server and then Wide Area Failover with GEOCluster. On top of that, they showed examples of where the end user could use VERITAS VVR as well as other replication technologies underneath their software. It was very impressive, and, by the way, they did this four years ago.”

Kenniston is looking on the bright side, however. “That said, this is a nice announcement, and does show that this type of solution is becoming more commonplace and easier to deploy, making true business continuity and DR (Disaster Recovery) a more affordable reality,” he says.

Despite the comments from VERITAS and Kenniston, EMC continues to stick by its claim. “We believe that VERITAS has neither demonstrated scalability nor integrated automation in long-distance failover of production applications,” says Dave Farmer, Director of Products and Technologies PR for EMC.

“The failover [demonstration] was completely ‘hands off’ and entirely automated. The demonstration featured generally available technology that’s available from EMC and FSC today,” continues Farmer. “If VERITAS can offer credible proof of equivalent scalability and automated functionality at transatlantic distances, we’ll be happy to retract the claim.”

The demonstration included clustered PRIMECLUSTER nodes and EMC Symmetrix DMX storage systems on two continents using SRDF/A for high-performance replication. Replicating an SAP R/3 ERP application, the demonstration produced a production site failure with seamless and automated (no administrator intervention required) failover from EMC and Fujitsu Siemens systems in Hopkinton to systems in Cork.

EMC and Fujitsu Siemens maintain the long-distance capability allows companies to make more efficient use of existing information and communication infrastructures.

“This demonstration of SRDF/A proves that integrated, long-distance recovery solutions are practical, affordable, and deployable today,” David Donatelli,
EMC EVP of Storage Platforms Operations, said in a statement.

After this story initially ran, CNT representatives told Enterprise Storage Forum that earlier this year, in partnership with Hibernia Atlantic, a subsidiary of Columbia Ventures Corporation (CVC), it also successfully demonstrated “that transatlantic data replication of mainframe and open systems applications is a cost-effective way to meet business continuity and recovery objectives of international companies with data centers located in both the UK and US.”

EMC Nabs Another HP Exec

Meanwhile, another HP storage executive has headed to Hopkinton.

Howard Elias, who helped build Compaq’s storage business and most recently served as HP’s senior VP of Business Management and Operations for the Enterprise Systems Group, will become EMC’s EVP of New Ventures. He will manage emerging business initiatives, including EMC’s Centera content-addressed storage (CAS) operations, and help identify new growth opportunities in information lifecycle management. He will report to CEO Joe Tucci.

“Our singular commitment to storage, market-leading position, and investments in storage innovation have enabled EMC to attract the industry’s best for
the benefit of our customers, partners, employees, and shareholders,” Tucci said in a statement. “Howard is a recognized leader throughout the IT industry and brings a wealth of experience that will help EMC deliver on our vision of becoming the ultimate information lifecycle management company.”

Other former HP execs who have left Palo Alto for Hopkinton include software EVP Mark Lewis and recovery SVP Mark Sorenson.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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