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Utility Powers Up Backup

In the past, only a few businesses needed multiple levels of technology for backup and recovery. Companies that faced the possibility of losing millions of dollars each minute that their systems were down were among the few that invested in online backup and recovery along with low-cost archiving.

That's beginning to change. Energy producer Calpine Corp., in San Jose, Calif., understands the importance of backup and recovery given the state's rolling brownouts. And the company worries about data recovery in other areas because it operates facilities in 21 states as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Calpine is working to deploy more timely backup and recovery processes for all locations by moving from a mostly tape-drive infrastructure to one that features real-time online backup and remote storage. The system is designed to cut costs and improve efficiency at the company, which reported $8.9 billion in revenue last year, says Brett Kernen, IS support services director. "Best of all, it brings us increased reliability and recoverability," he says.
The company also has saved $319,000 in labor costs since last summer, and one person is doing the backup and recovery work of 60, says Marc Eisenstein, distributed systems manager at Calpine.

The service uses a software agent on systems to automatically transmit new information to an off-site location for backup and storage. In the next year, Calpine plans to apply that approach to the personal productivity side of operations. While the data at the power plants are backed up nightly, personal-productivity apps will be backed up continuously.

Company growth and cost savings drive Calpine's online recovery requirements. Two years ago, the company increased power-generation capacity by 70%. It has 10 projects under way that are expected to boost production capacity by 29,000 megawatts by 2006.

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