High Availability Systems Enable Quick Compliance for Financial Services

Lora Bentley

Few industries are as heavily regulated as financial services. Financial services companies -- from insurance to banking to brokers and advisers -- that operate in the United States are subject to Sarbanes-Oxley, Graham-Leach-Bliley, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) and the Interagency Paper on the U.S. Financial System, among other things.


According to a piece in Information Management, the availability of financial information is central to all of these regulatory schemes. But because availability is the law rather than just a good business practice, backup tapes are not enough. In fact, writers Alan Arnold and Don Scott, executives at Vision Solutions, argue that even journaling, data vaulting and continuous data protection (CDP) could fall short when it comes to some of the availability regulations. They write:

CDP and data vaulting usually offer at least two advantages over journaling. First, most of these products provide graphical interfaces that automate the data recovery processes...The second advantage... is that they typically store data changes in a simple file structure that is platform-independent while journals are normally operating system-dependent... Unfortunately, like journaling, neither CDP nor data vaulting significantly reduces disaster recovery times because data still has to be recovered from tape before it can be brought up to date using the backup data store.


What works best then? Not surprisingly, Arnold and Scott tout high availability software, in which Vision Solutions specializes. They explain that, in addition to replicating business databases, high availability software also reproduces application code and system values to a fully functional backup system. And most automate "failover," the writers say, after detecting the unavailability of information from the primary system.


High availabilty storage is also a hot topic at this year's Cloud Computing Expo, according to SYS-CON Australia. In its fourth year, the conference will be held Nov. 2-4, 2009, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, California. Jeff Whitehead, CTO at Zetta and former CIO at Shutterfly, will address "overcoming limitations in building a high-availability storage infrastructure."

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