Because Rhode Island is a small state, it doesn’t make sense to build
and operate a backup data center within state lines. So the state contracted
with disaster recovery service provider SunGard to provide data center space
and the mainframes and servers it needs to bring services back up, says Rhode
Island CIO John (Jack) Landers.
The state ships its tape backups to Iron Mountain every week, and if a disaster
strikes, Iron Mountain will ship the tape backups to a SunGard facility for
Similarly, Alaska has a contract with SunGard and can bring up the state’s
important mainframe applications in SunGard’s Seattle facility if a
major disaster strikes. These include applications used by the Department
of Health and Social Services and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development,
which provides unemployment benefits.
The state uses virtualization to replicate non-mainframe applications between
its data centers in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks. But if a major disaster
takes down all three data centers, the state doesn’t have a backup data
center to restore these other applications, says Anand Dubey, Alaska’s
director of enterprise technology services.
To solve that problem, Dubey is talking to other states to see if they can
partner up and provide each other data center space or disaster recovery services.
Rhode Island has also discussed partnerships with other states, but in the
meantime, the state spends about $300,000 a year for its SunGard hot site.
Landers says the investment is worth it.
“It’s an insurance policy,” he says. “If you don’t
have insurance, you have no recovery option.”