Business Continuity in the
Electronics Industry:

 

A Market Impact Analysis

 

 

 

 

This report was prepared by

Larstan Business Reports

 

Copyright © Larstan, 2005

All rights reserved

 

 
 

Business Continuity in the Electronics Industry

 

Market Impact Analysis

 

For many organizations in the industry, stiff global competition and rapid commoditization are not only lowering margins but making value-added delivery and support services a necessary part of the product itself.

 

As a consequence, uninterrupted performance from IT applications -- i.e., Business Continuity (BC) -- is becoming a necessity. 

 

“Increasingly, products and services are delivered on a just-in-time basis. If you have unexpected downtime and you don’t deliver, you can incur severe service level penalties. In a low-margin business, losing that kind of revenue can be enough to make you noncompetitive. ”  -- Tim Nally, IBM Client Executive

 

In addition, more and more companies are migrating to global governance structures.

 

“It’s not uncommon even within product design processes to have one design started in the U.S. from 8 to 5, then handed to partners or colleagues in Asia at the end of the work day, then to EMEA and finally back to the U.S. So the company is operating on a truly global basis, 24 by 7, 365. And on the product sales and support side, if a hot product hits the market in Japan, the next day-- because of the Internet--people find out about it and want it. So you need to be resilient and monitor business operations globally.” -- Kevin Reardon, General Manager, Global Electronics Industry, IBM

 

In the process, attitudes toward IT are changing.

 

“We’re seeing a shift among senior management from viewing IT as a cost center to seeing it as an enabler for growth and business performance. There’s a recognition that if you don’t have everything in place, you’re not going to be able to handle a true global environment.”  Kevin Reardon, General Manager, Global Electronics Industry, IBM 

 

The Strategic Role of Business Continuity

 

As a result of these changes, electronics companies are taking steps to help their IT systems remain available around the clock. In a recent Larstan Business Reports survey of 281 IT managers in the industry, an overwhelming majority (78%) say that BC is among the top five priority issues in their organization.

By a similar majority, respondents indicate that their organizations have detailed, documented business continuity strategies.

 

 

To help keep systems operating on a 24x7x365 basis, organizations need a BC strategy that looks beyond disaster recovery. High availability and continuous operations are also fundamental for success. Therefore, organizations need systems where:

 

               Key business applications and data are protected and available

               Protection costs are predictable and manageable

               Operations can continue after an outage or a disaster

 

To achieve those strategic objectives, an organization’s BC plan must encompass three separate elements:

 

High Availability Fault-resilient IT infrastructures and clustering software can help provide continuous application processing in the event of an unplanned outage, such as server failure in a data center. To be sure, the answer to high availability is not necessarily clustering software anymore. Virtualization of resources now opens up other options, which may be easier to manage and administer. Regardless, if strategic systems and application databases are available, then customers, employees and suppliers can get what they need from the enterprise business.

 

Continuous Operations Planned events, such as system maintenance, must also not interrupt operations. A solid BC plan allows companies to keep applications and data online while performing daily backup operations or while making changes or upgrades to servers and storage. By eliminating routine downtime, organizations can enhance the productivity and effectiveness of all their users.

 

Disaster Recovery Disasters can take many forms. Fires, floods and blackouts can strike unexpectedly and shutdown access to your ecommerce sites or network applications. Although no BC strategy can provide absolute protection, a proactive disaster recovery plan that includes risk assessment, disruption-impact analysis and swift recovery processes can significantly mitigate risks and interruptions.

 

Looking Beyond Disaster Recovery

 

When organizations begin to develop a BC strategy, they usually focus on the Disaster Recovery component. 

 

As part of their Disaster Recovery (D/R) plan, organizations have to achieve two fundamental objectives:

 

               Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – So that organizations can count on having their critical applications up and running within a fixed window of time.

               Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – So that organizations can count on having data available to their recovered applications that is as current as a pre-determined backup point.

 

Developing and implementing RTOs and RPOs for all IT systems allows organizations to control the conditions under which their systems will be recovered should their primary data center be completely disabled for any reason. Although there are still organizations that see Disaster Recovery preparation as a “sunk cost” because the odds of a major catastrophe actually wiping out their enterprise systems are so low, most recognize that, like insurance, it is part of the cost of doing business.

 

Within a successful BC strategy, however, Disaster Recovery should work hand in hand with an organization’s High Availability and Continuous Operations plans. 

 

Many organizations simply accept the routine downtime that comes with upgrading or maintaining their enterprise systems. They either do not realize that a complete BC strategy would help them to leverage their Disaster Recovery plan to minimize or eliminate outages of all types, or they haven’t measured the aggregate costs of losing access to applications and data.

  

When organizations understand the business value of their applications and data to their various units, they can better visualize the benefits of 24x7x365 IT operations. They make sure that their systems are protected not only from one-time catastrophes, but also from more frequent, routine outages that can add up to considerable systems downtime.

 

Solutions Impact Analysis

 

IBM Responds to New Strategic Storage Imperatives

 

Managing storage resources—especially SANs—in a strategic manner is emerging as a new strategic imperative in the electronics industry. Of the IT managers in the electronics industry polled for this report, a full 84% agreed that complex heterogeneous environments can inhibit the implementation of Business Continuity strategies.

 

 

In response, IBM has developed a framework around virtualization and automation technologies designed to help reduce the cost and complexity of storage infrastructures being built today in the electronics industry. Available solutions are based on the IBM TotalStorage® Open Software Family of products.

 

These solutions are designed to help simplify storage infrastructure, improve storage utilization and provide the storage support required for both supply chain and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications.

 

Open Software Family capabilities include storage infrastructure management, hierarchical storage management (HSM), archive and recovery management, and storage virtualization and orchestration.

 

               Storage infrastructure management Storage infrastructure management is designed to make resource sharing possible across the enterprise, including heterogeneous networks. It empowers administrators by providing an integrated view of the entire storage environment, including software and hardware. Storage infrastructure management can provide insight into the historic, operational and predictive analytics of the storage environment that, in turn, can help systems administrators improve storage capacity and network utilization, and help avoid business outages. It also supports policy-based automation (such as capacity provisioning, performance optimization and data management) helping to provide a high degree of business agility. Storage infrastructure management capabilities within the Open Software Family are enhanced through virtualization, a capability that can help pool and share enterprise-wide storage assets to help improve utilization, performance and availability.

 

Many of the storage infrastructure management products within the Open Software Family use a common open standards interface for management based on the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S). This provides administrators with the flexibility to inter-operate with products from many different providers without having to change how the current environment is managed.

 

               Hierarchical storage management Open Software Family HSM capabilities provide a way to capture low-activity or inactive data and feed it into a hierarchy of lower-cost or tiered storage. This can help IT staffs to control data storage growth and costs. Automated, policy-based capabilities determine where data should be stored, based on factors such as how vital it is to mission critical applications, how accessible and available data must be, and the cost structures of available devices. Support for a broad range of platforms, spanning from mainframes to open distributed systems, offers enterprises flexibility of choice. Interoperability with IBM Content and Records Management products allows enterprise data to be moved from one medium to another efficiently while helping to avoid disruptions in service.

 

               Archive management The Open Software Family is designed to allow companies to archive, retain and manage data, including email, in a highly automated and efficient manner. The archive management features of the Open Software Family leverage HSM capabilities and enable interoperability among many content management products available in the marketplace, including the IBM DB2® Content Management family. And they support a wide variety of storage media, write once read many (WORM) tape and magnetic disks.

 

 

For instance, the IBM TotalStorage Data Retention 450 solution is designed as a preconfigured, integrated solution to help store, retrieve, manage, share and secure regulated and non-regulated data. It uses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Data Retention for management and enforcement of data retention policies. The solution’s policy-based archive data retention capabilities are designed to support non-erasable, non-rewritable data storage. Using an established archive application programming interface (API), it can help address the needs of enterprises with long-term data retention and protection needs.

 

               Recovery management These automated tools are designed to help organizations recover data by allowing administrators to create and track reliable recovery points of the most mission critical enterprise data, based on preset policies. Through centralized, web-based management, recovery management capabilities provide intelligent backup and archiving to help avoid impact on application availability. They are designed to match the value of protected data and applications to the most cost-effective media—whether tape or disk storage. The recovery management products of the Open Software Family are designed to address a wide range of service level agreements (SLAs) using the appropriate cost structure. Automated policy-based data movement and intelligent storage techniques are designed to help free up administrators to work on higher value tasks and projects.

 

               Storage virtualization Storage virtualization software is designed to improve the flexibility and utilization of an organization’s storage resources. Virtualization works by pooling storage volumes, files and file systems into a single reservoir of capacity for centralized management. This reservoir can include storage capacity from multiple vendors and platforms in heterogeneous environments. Virtualization is also designed to reduce the effects of reconfigurations at the hardware level, to help support business continuity.

 

               Storage orchestration Storage orchestration is designed to help automate the management of storage environments to meet service levels or other operational policies. Beginning with policy-based, automated work flows, storage orchestration is planned to include optional real-time monitoring and intelligence designed to enable autonomic management of the on-demand storage environment. This is intended to automate complex and error-prone tasks to help reduce or eliminate human error and associated application outages.

 

The modular, integrated and open solutions of the Open Software Family can help organizations manage storage growth and costs in a flexible environment using automated processes through software products based on standard interfaces. It supports an environment of business continuity in which changes can be made with minimal or no interruption to mission critical applications or the servers on which they run.

 

These solutions also work for other applications that end users deem critical to their businesses. IBM TotalStorage Open Software Family not only supports Business Recovery but can help to deliver and enhance your existing BC infrastructure. IBM can help customers take BC to the next level, with a variety of offerings that include planning and implementation and a full range of storage products and management solutions that can deliver the type of BC required.

 


 

 

IBM Responds to Storage Business Continuity Imperatives
with the IBM TotalStorage Resiliency Family

 

 

In the three years since 9/11, U.S. businesses have made significant changes to their security and Business Continuity policies so that they can be prepared in case disaster strikes.  Nevertheless, there are growing signs many corporations and their employees are still not sufficiently prepared for another attack -- or even a more common natural disaster or unplanned outage.

 

While government officials say further attacks are likely, natural disasters and unplanned outages are par for the course and business continuity strategies are aimed at addressing these challenges, as well as avoiding the disruption from planned outages such as system maintenance operations.

 

Because of the high value of 24 x 7 operations, a comprehensive Business Continuity plan is key to doing business in the 21st century.  In short, if an organization doesn’t have access to the right information at the right time it can have a profoundly negative impact on its bottom line and competitive position. 

 

…A High Priority  

 

One thing is certain: corporations are becoming increasingly aware of the need to safeguard their infrastructure and information resources. The numbers are compelling – the market research firm IDC recently projected that worldwide spending on information security and business continuity will grow twice as fast as general IT spending over the next several years, reaching more than $118 billion by 2007.

 

Major corporations have made business continuity and disaster planning a strategic priority since the terror attacks on 9/11 and a Business Roundtable CEO survey released earlier this year proves that point.  The survey found that key corporations today are better prepared to deal with threats, respond to a terrorist incident, and bounce back as quickly as possible, in large part because CEOs are focusing on the issue.

 

More than 99 percent of all companies surveyed have boosted their physical security and strengthened cyber security since the 9/11 attacks.   Also, 87 percent of the CEOs are devoting more time and attention to security since the 9/11 attacks.  The executives are bringing their money to the table as well.

 

“Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, security has become embedded into core business operations and daily activities of our companies.  Companies are strengthening the resiliency of the nation's critical infrastructures, increasing investments in physical and cyber security, improving crisis communications and developing more extensive emergency response plans.” -- C. Michael Armstrong, Chairman of the Roundtable's Security Task Force.

 

The Business Roundtable survey found that companies have increased spending on security by an average of nearly 10% since 9/11, and 96% project that security spending in 2004 will go up or remain steady.  “These survey results show that there has been a sea change since the 9/11 attacks in the ways that companies think about and handle security issues,” Armstrong said. “Security has moved from the desks of the company CSO and CIO to the CEO and boards of directors.”

 

Although businesses are spending more on business continuity and security solutions, they may not be gaining much ground in the battle, however.  Since threats to business continuity extend beyond specific threats to hardware, software and network resources, corporations are urged to implement more strategic plans to better protect their resources in case of disaster. 

 

…The Strategic Role of Storage

 

Increasingly, storage solutions are becoming an essential element in the business continuity space.  Indeed, with the new set of business continuity requirements that have surfaced in the wake of 9/11, cross-platform enterprise storage systems -- particularly storage area networks (SANs) -- are beginning to come into their own as strategic information technology expenditures.

 

While storage used to be almost an afterthought to a hardware purchase, changes in security policies, the way enterprises use data and the advent of new technologies have shifted the value proposition for enterprise storage. 

 

Analysts at Gartner Inc. believe that storage technology will improve so rapidly that the cost of keeping everything will be cheaper than the cost of deciding what to keep. This will result in what the analysts refer to as “perfect recall” -- digital trails that capture an enterprise user's every move and which can be reclaimed when needed.  Other trends in the space include the emergence of real-time infrastructure, which will use sensor network management technology and event driven architectures to build tera-architectures capable of capturing, storing and analyzing trillions of transactions.

 

“Sensor networks will be common in five years and everywhere by 10 years.  A hospital could track every patient and every pill in the building. Airlines could track every passenger and every bag.” The challenge, he believes, will be to develop an IT infrastructure that can make sense of the tidal wave of information." -- Martin Reynolds, GVP and Research Fellow at Gartner

 

The strategic view of storage as a principal pillar of Business Continuity comes in large part from a sea change in the way data is generated and later used within the enterprise. The need to backup and archive data continues to be an important function of storage, and has become even more critical given a wide range of business needs such as electronic commerce that require real-time data access and protection.

 

Companies increasingly are embracing the value proposition of sharing data across the enterprise, and enterprise storage has become an enabling tool for a wide range of business applications. Cross-platform storage has become increasingly important as companies take advantage of different flavors of Unix and Windows NT and continue to require access to data stored on legacy mainframes.

 

The three key areas that are tailor made for storage solutions are information protection, information sharing and information management. The modern vision of storage is to provide customers with access to their information regardless of where it is located and regardless of where it needs to be used across the enterprise.  In this paradigm, companies benefit most when they are not only allowed to access information, but they are able to leverage, manage, protect, share and use that data to their competitive advantage.

 

Storage is fast becoming a strategic purchase for customers today because of the increasing amount of information that's out there and the value of that information to the enterprise. That data needs to be protected and it needs to be shareable, regardless of the size of the application.

 

…Inside IBM’s TotalStorage Resiliency Family

 

These days, information technology is the perhaps the most critical element of business continuity planning that the Global 2000 face today -- a fact that the e-business revolution has made clear.  For a global e-business, data backup windows may shrink while storage capacity grows.  But in the event of an unexpected outage -- whether that outage is caused by a software glitch, malicious code episode or natural disaster -- vital data and applications can be unprotected, wreaking havoc with trading partner relationships, productivity and perhaps costing billions of dollars to fix.

 

To address these mission-critical challenges, IBM has developed its TotalStorage Resiliency Family, a comprehensive set of products and services that are automated and designed to address business continuity challenges. This set of disaster recovery and business continuity offerings from IBM is based on integrated server and application solutions and includes integrated and automated solutions designed to provide capabilities ranging from basic backup and restore, to multi-site "real-time" disaster recovery for clients -- helping businesses better align IT costs according to the value of various forms of information.

 

The Resiliency Family includes solutions that can help provide integrated and automated management of disaster recovery for host environments.

 

These solutions range from basic backup and restore to an automated multi-site disaster recovery capability.  Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach, these solutions can be integrated into mainframe, UNIX, or Microsoft Windows server environments and can be tailored to address specific applications or fit the size of a business.

 

The TotalStorage Resiliency Family includes the core technologies and automation that can provide the foundation for an effective business continuity solution.  This approach includes infrastructures ranging from servers to storage to network components for multiple operating system environments; core technologies such as replication functions, backup and recovery management software tools; platform-specific solutions that provide integrated and automated management of disaster recovery for specific host environments; and application- or database-specific integration solutions that can work effectively with widely deployed database and ERP applications.

 

…Key Objectives to Business Continuity

 

The IBM TotalStorage Resiliency Family is designed to accomplish two key objectives that are key to any business continuity effort:

 

  • Help support continuous business operations and protect business data.

 

  • Offer solution costs that are in line with the value of individual applications. 

 

The Resiliency Family offers rapid recovery solutions for business-critical applications that enable organizations to match their recovery time objectives (RTOs) for applications based on the value or importance of the data.  This strategy also can help get more value from existing hardware and core technology investments because these components can be used at different levels of disaster recovery.

 

Because the IBM TotalStorage Resiliency Family is designed to offer end-to-end automation of many tasks while leveraging solutions like Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS) which offer interoperability with multiple vendors’ storage subsystems, organizations are able to reduce time-to-market and time-to-customer. 

 

End-to-end automation in this space offers other potential benefits as well – not the least of which is the reduction or even elimination of human error and a reduction in the cost of skilled labor for these daily operational functions. Downtime is therefore reduced while boosting the productivity of storage IT personnel.  This can be very helpful in reducing total cost of ownership (TCO).

 

One key component of the IBM TotalStorage Resiliency Family is its Global Mirror for Enterprise Storage offering.  This is a storage technology that is designed to help clients protect and recover critical data at global backup locations at some of the fastest speeds available. The technology provides global backup and recovery protection at speeds approaching those achievable at local distances.

           

Launched in May 2004, clients are able to deploy the technology as part of disaster recovery solutions designed to help protect them from regional events such as hurricanes or earthquakes.

 

“In the context of outages -- planned or unplanned -- every second is of critical importance. The value of lost -- or saved -- data is virtually incalculable. Global Mirror is designed to help customers maintain high availability among business processes and key business applications in a cost-conscious manner -- across the globe and at some of the fastest speeds available today.” -- Tom Hawk, General Manager of Enterprise Storage, IBM

 

Specifically, Global Mirror uses innovations within asynchronous peer-to-peer remote copy (PPRC) technology to help speed disk mirroring at distances more than 300 kilometers with a delay that can be as low as three to five seconds. It also was designed to move data great distances at high speeds while maintaining the integrity of the data in transit and to allow massive data transfers while avoiding disruption to IT performance or availability. Global Mirror can also provide business continuity functionality for large-scale applications that store data across multiple disk systems or have data managed by different types of hosts.

 

…The Role of Services

 

In addition to solutions like these, organizations have the option of taking advantage of IBM’s Business Continuity and Recovery Services, which offer assessment, planning, strategy, installation, implementation, testing and maintenance.

 

As part of its business continuity and consulting services, IBM will work with organizations to determine the potential impact of a disruption on their business and can manage the business continuity program if the organization prefers to focus on its own core competencies.  The express services for medium businesses are specifically designed to meet the needs of mid-sized firms in this space while managing costs of deployment and operation.

 

IT recovery and consulting services offer backup and recovery capabilities for multi-vendor IT environments and can help protect and recover data and technology, allocate alternate user environments and arrange for replacement equipment.  Managed security can help organizations assess, prevent, detect and respond to information security risks that can threaten an organization’s operations while helping evaluate current security, detect misuse, boost incident response and make changes that improve defenses.

 

Storage and backup services offer managed storage capacity and other solutions that can increase data availability and protect critical information from accidental loss or destruction while helping to keep up with rapidly growing storage requirements.  Tape storage services are available to help with backup and to restore storage systems.

 

Installation Services for Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex provides the capability of managing the remote copy configuration and storage subsystems, automating Parallel Sysplex operational tasks and performing failure recovery from a single point of control.

 

“In any unplanned outage, disaster recovery is about achieving resumption of service at the application and user level.  Resiliency Family can help achieve this by providing the applications staff the ability to perform a fast, repeatable and consistent application and database restart -- supporting hardware recovery, data integrity and data consistency.” -- Tom Hawk, General Manager of Enterprise Storage, IBM

 

…Integrating Autonomic Computing

 

An increasingly critical component of effective Business Continuity strategies will be the presence of intelligent networks that can do two things automatically:

 

  • Detect potential problems and prevent them from manifesting themselves by recognizing developing symptoms; and

 

  • Respond, react and recover from disruptive events by self-diagnosing and treating the problem to return to optimal performance without human intervention.

 

IBM's vision of autonomic computing embraces the development of intelligent, open systems designed to run with minimal human intervention while adapting to varying circumstances in accordance with business policies and objectives.  The IBM framework for autonomic computing helps systems automatically analyze and allocate resources in a way that most efficiently handles the workloads put upon them.  Autonomic computing technologies deliver computing systems that offer customers:

 

  • Improved resiliency
  • Accelerated implementation of new capabilities
  • Increased return on IT investments

 

IBM has recently made an Autonomic Computing Toolkit available to the developer community to build self-healing computer systems. The tool kit contains embeddable components, tools, usage scenarios and documentation that cover four core areas:

 

  • Autonomic Management Engines -- Offered via Tivoli, the Autonomic Monitoring Engine creates links among end users, resources and business processes to better manage applications and services.  It allows network managers to configure server software to monitor specific business services, such as help desk, or applications such as SAP’s CRM software. From there, the Autonomic Engine uses rules built into the software (or tailored upon installation by the customer) to correlate data from disparate sources, detect potential problems and take appropriate corrective action.

 

  • Integrated Solutions Console -- This allows a company's IT administration to be monitored and run centrally, over a Web-based infrastructure.

 

  • Solution Installation and Deployment -- These are technologies are core to autonomic computing, spotting interdependencies between applications to reduce installation and configuration problems.

 

  • Problem Determination -- These technologies include: a Common Base Event format to standardize the exchange of data on problems; a Generic Log Adaptor that converts existing files to the Common Base Event format; and a Log and Trace Analyzer that reads the logs in the Common Base Event format, correlates the results and displays the records. This speeds up analysis of the root cause of problems.

 

…Conclusion

 

At the end of the day, one thing is certain -- Business Continuity planning is not a luxury, it is a necessity.  Today’s enterprises can no longer afford planned or unplanned system outages and even a few minutes of downtime can cost thousands of dollars, shake customer confidence, damage brand image and create significant PR challenges.

 

In today’s hotly competitive marketplace, an on demand data center must be resilient enough to roll with the punches in the global market while effectively managing change and threats with consistent availability, data protection and privacy. And these days, 24 x 7 global availability is the objective all enterprises are shooting for -- and in the end likely will determine who gains the upper hand in the marketplace and manages the bottom line most effectively.

 

 

This document was developed with IBM funding. Although the document may utilize publicly available material from various vendors, including IBM, it does not necessarily reflect the positions of such vendors on the issues addressed in this document.

 

IBM, DB2, and TotalStorage are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation.

 

This research paper was prepared under agreement with IBM.