Conflict Tests Mideast Firms

Israeli and Lebanese firms' productivity and disaster recovery plans take a pounding

August 8, 2006

3 Min Read
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As the conflict in the Middle East continues, organizations in both Israel and Lebanon are working hard to keep their servers and storage up and running in the face of missile attacks and air strikes.

In the Lebanese capital, Beirut, software development firm Taglogic had already made plans to cope with the current crisis. "It did not affect our IT infrastructure as we had taken all necessary precautions, knowing that we were in a high-risk region," explained Tarek Dajani, the firm's managing partner, in an email to Byte and Switch.

According to Dajani, Taglogic's main servers, which are still operational, are located in Beirut, although the firm also has access to redundant systems in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and application servers hosted in the U.S.

When the conflict started last month, however, Dajani had to relocate some of his staff. "From a people point of view, our main team was in Beirut, but we took the immediate steps of relocating key team members to Riyadh on the first day of the events."

Across the border in Israel, users in the northern city of Haifa, home to much of that country's technology industry, have also had to take extra precautions to keep their IT systems functioning. Raya Lubovitch, the head of computing systems at the University of Haifa, told Byte and Switch in an email that the organization's central servers and network infrastructure are located underground to provide an extra level of protection.Lubovitch is also making use of a facility further south in Israel, out of range of rocket attacks. "We have a disaster recovery site in Tel Aviv University," she explained. "[And] we copy critical data to this site on a regular basis."

The exec confirmed that the university is planning to extend its disaster recovery plans as a result of the current situation, although she did not go into details.

A number of U.S. firms also have major R&D sites in Haifa. According to media reports, staff at Intel's R&D facility in the city, for example, have been using underground wireless connections to work from bomb shelters. The chip manufacturer reportedly has 2,400 research staff in Haifa.

IBM also has a major research center in Haifa, which undertakes much of the vendor's storage and life sciences research. Oded Cohn, the lab's director, said that IBM has managed to continue its research with little or no disruption.

In Beirut, Dajani admitted that the current situation, unsurprisingly, has affected business. "Overall, the impact was serious in that it took a toll on our overheads given that we had to react in an emergency." Given that most of the firm's customers in Lebanon halted their operations, Taglogic's revenue stream also took a hit, he noted.Israel's high-tech industry is also feeling the effects of the war. According to Israeli business news service, figures from the Manpower Israel Index, which measures demand for high-tech workers, show a 12.7 percent drop in recruitment between June and July, thanks to the conflict.

James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Intel Corp.

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