TradeCard

Hosted supply chain automation firm picks Kashya for remote disaster recovery

March 9, 2006

4 Min Read
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Maintaining an efficient disaster recovery site is crucial for any firm looking to protect its critical data, but it is even more so for a company such as TradeCard Inc.

TradeCard provides an online hosted supply chain automation service that connects its customers' financial and supply chain systems with their partners and financial institutions. The New York-based company has customers that include Rite Aid and JCPenney, and they're spread around the world. Its value comes from giving its customers the ability to complete transactions around the clock. On the downside, any potential downtime interrupts the customers' ability to buy and sell.

"We provide uninterrupted access to data to keep the supply chain operational," says Anthony Ercolino, TradeCard's VP of data center operations. "If we have a problem, we obviously want to bring data up from our remote site as fast as possible. You don't want to sit there and hope that the system comes up and running. You want to get it up as soon as possible."

TradeCard implemented Kashya appliances for remote replication last year, moving data between EMC Clariion SANs in its data center and its DR site. (See Replication's All the Rage and Kashya Delivers Remote Replication.)

TradeCard actually had a functional disaster recovery site for three years before implementing Kashya. It used log shipping -- a process of backing up transaction logs throughout the day and restoring them on another server to keep the two servers in synch. This method allowed TradeCard to recover a database from a previously consistent state, but Ercolino says it was not an ideal solution."Log shipping worked, but the problem was it used archive logs," he says. "It's hard to determine exactly what logs were being replicated. We wanted a better way of knowing exactly what point of time we were failing over to DR."

He also wanted a quicker method of performing TradeCard's quarterly DR tests, which it does as part of its service-level agreements (SLAs). Kashya's replication lets TradeCard test faster and without downtime. With log shipping, the database cannot be used for anything else while it is being failed over.

Ercolino says he had several options for replicating data from an IBM DB2 database between his Clariion CX500 at the company's New York headquarters and its CX300 at the DR site. He considered array-based replication with applications from EMC and Symantec, host-based replication over the WAN, and network-based replication using an appliance.

He decided on the network-based approach and picked Kashya KBX5000 appliances, clustering two each at his data center and DR sites. Ercolino says the Kashya appliance solved WAN bandwidth and performance issues through its compression technology and costs less than array-based software. Kashya appliance pricing starts at $50,000 per box.

Kashya's appliances are out of band, and intercept system "writes" to storage devices. They plug into TradeCard's McData Sphereon 4500 switches at each site."Network-based replication takes the impact of everything off the host," Ercolino says. "It doesnt affect the host, it doesn’t affect the SAN. It moved the impact to a separate device. We have a pair of devices at each location. Kashya boxes make sure the data is replicated from point A to Point B.

"We wanted something we could just install on the SAN, something switch-based, something I could plug into a switch and replicate over. If I want to get a NAS later and plug it into the switch, I could do that in the future."

TradeCard conducted several DR tests with Kashya before putting the boxes into production, and the company has had several live tests since implementing the vendor's solution last October.

Where it took close to two hours to restore the DR site from archive logs during tests, Ercolino says now it takes less than five minutes to restore data. "We quickly bring up the system at our disaster recovery site and quickly bring it out of DR mode when we're done testing."

Ideally, Ercolino would like to replicate through his switch instead of plugging a separate device into a switch. Kashya's software runs with Cisco's SANtap on MDS9000 switches, but that method costs more, and TradeCard would have had to shell out to replace its McData Sphereon 4500 switches with Cisco's. (See Kashya to Offer Replication on Cisco.) Kashya software does not run on McData switches."I would like that technology built into cheaper end-switches, but those were expensive and there weren't many options," he says.

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Kashya Inc.

  • McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA)

  • Symantec Corp.

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