(TNS) — After nearly seven years without a large hurricane threatening the entire Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, emergency planners say they're having a difficult time getting residents to prepare for the upcoming season.
"It's human nature," said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center. When hurricanes don't happen, people forget about them.
This week the country's leading emergency managers and hurricane officials are meeting in Austin at the annual National Hurricane Conference, and this year the buzz has been about the recent lull in Gulf of Mexico activity and how that has made preparations for the season, which begins June 1, more difficult.
If the title of this post makes you go cross-eyed, don’t worry. All will become clear. Let’s explain. Active/active IT configurations consist of computer servers that are connected in a network and that share a common database. The ‘active/active’ part refers to the capability to handle server failure. First, if one server fails, it does not affect the other servers. Second, users on a server that fails are then rapidly switched to another server that works. The database that the servers use is also replicated so that there is always one copy available. Now for the other two acronyms: HA stands for high availability; DR (of course) for disaster recovery. It is DR that is more affected in this case.
There are many products and services on the market today designed to help notify the right people with (hopefully) the right messages in the event of disruption of day-to-day operations.
Yet we in Business Continuity (and Emergency Management, Crisis Management and ITDR) spend little time, money or effort streamlining how we receive intelligence about events that could potentially disrupt our businesses. Why all the emphasis on outgoing information yet so little on incoming intelligence?
We already know what kind of intelligence we should be anticipating. After all, successful Business Continuity Management and Risk Management uncover knowledge of events that may negatively impact day-to-day operations. And there are many readily available sources which can alert us to those potential, impending or current events for both personal and business use.
Award-winning software provides high availability and disaster protection for important applications in Azure
SAN MATEO, Calif. – SIOS Technology Corp. (www.us.sios.com), maker of SAN and #SANLess clustering software products, today announced that its SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition software is Microsoft Azure certified and now available in the Azure Marketplace. The new SIOS offering is the only Azure certified software that enables customers to create a SANLess high availability cluster in Azure using Microsoft Windows Server Failover Clustering.
By adding SIOS DataKeeper software to Windows Server Failover Clustering, customers can quickly and easily help protect business-critical Windows environments from downtime and data loss in a cloud or a combination of physical, virtual, or hybrid cloud environment. Now, for the first time, applications depending on SAN-based Windows server failover clusters for protection can be moved to Azure and achieve the more comprehensive high availability protection they need.
“We are pleased that Microsoft has chosen to certify and include SIOS DataKeeper in the Azure Marketplace. By providing fast, convenient access to SIOS DataKeeper software, our Azure Marketplace offering enables customers to deploy their important applications such as SQL, SAP, and Oracle in Azure with the same high availability protection they have in traditional physical server environments,” said Jerry Melnick, COO of SIOS Technology.
“Products like SIOS DataKeeper are pivotal in the cloud transformation,” said Vibhor Kapoor, Director of Product Marketing, Microsoft Azure. “By providing the essential high availability protection for critical applications that enterprises need, SIOS and Azure are enabling customers to take their journey to the cloud with confidence.”
Along with its Azure Marketplace offering, SIOS provides an informative, step-by-step guide to creating a high availability failover cluster to protect SQL Server in Azure IaaS written by Microsoft MVP, David Bermingham. The SIOS DataKeeper offering in the Azure Marketplace is at:
About SIOS Technology Corp.
SIOS Technology Corp. makes SAN and #SANLess software solutions that make clusters easy to use and easy to own.An essential part of any cluster solution, SIOS SAN and #SANLess software provides the flexibility to build Clusters Your Way™ to protect your choice of Windows or Linux environment in any configuration (or combination) of physical, virtual and cloud (public, private, and hybrid) without sacrificing performance or availability. The unique SIOS #SANLess clustering solution allows you to configure clusters with local storage, eliminating both the cost and the single-point-of-failure risk of traditional shared (SAN) storage.
Founded in 1999, SIOS Technology Corp. (www.us.sios.com) is headquartered in San Mateo, California, and has offices throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Japan.
ESG Lab Review Affirms Dot Hill's Application Workload-Aware Intelligence Delivers Real-Time Responsiveness for Mixed Workload Data Center Applications
LONGMONT, Colo. – Dot Hill Systems Corp.(Nasdaq:HILL), a trusted supplier of innovative enterprise-class storage systems, today announced new independent lab testing results which validate Dot Hill Ultra48™AssuredSAN®hybrid storage solutions with RealStor™ 2.0 deliver greater performance with lower latency than competitive offerings that rely on read-cache approaches to prioritizing data, without compromising ease-of-use.
The Lab Validation Report, issued by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), documents the results of expert, independent, hands-on testing of the Dot Hill AssuredSAN 4000 Series next-generation hybrid solution with a focus on the value of RealStor 2.0 application workload-aware intelligence software and the Ultra48 AssuredSAN high-density storage enclosure. The report confirms that Dot Hill's RealStor 2.0 real-time autonomic tiering features and capabilities far exceed read-cache alternatives from competitors.
"IT managers are struggling with the challenges of managing data growth and improving data protection. The increasing use of server virtualization is also a top priority as organizations recognize the opportunity to improve efficiency by consolidating applications on fewer physical servers. In addition, storage-intensive big data and data analytics initiatives are on the rise as organizations look to accelerate business intelligence," said Brian Garrett, vice president of ESG Lab, Enterprise Strategy Group. "The new and improved software capabilities of RealStor 2.0 and the flash-optimized Ultra48 high-density hardware platform cost-effectively address the data growth and performance challenges associated with a wide variety of these applications and associated workloads."
After testing RealStor 2.0 and its range of associated services, ESG Lab drew a number of conclusions including:
- RealStor 2.0 with RealPool™ and RealThin™ increased the efficiency and ease of managing a cost-effective hybrid mix of solid-state drive (SSD) and hard disk drive (HDD) storage.
- RealTier™ started to increase performance with a hybrid mix of SSD and HDD in a matter of minutes for an OLTP database workload.
- RealCache™ with SSD increased performance for a read-intensive database workload in a matter of seconds.
- RealQuick™ reduced RAID group rebuild times by 14.6x for a volume that was 10 percent full compared with a traditional full-volume rebuild.
- The new and improved RealStor 2.0 management interface was used to configure an AssuredSAN 4004 Series from scratch in five minutes and 26 mouse clicks.
- ESG Lab confirmed that the fully redundant and field-serviceable Ultra48 Platform is highly available as it rode through a barrage of simulated hardware failures.
To read the full ESG Lab Validation report, visit: http://www.dothill.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ESG-Lab-Validation-Dot-Hill-AssuredSAN-Ultra-Series-Mar-15.pdf
"The pooling and automatic tiering of RealStor 2.0 is seriously smart and efficient. The fine grain 4MB efficiency and real-time frequency of RealTier provide best-in-class efficiency and performance compared with competitive tiering solutions with larger page sizes (e.g., 1GB) and a sluggish monitoring and migration frequency (e.g., 24 hours)," the report states. "Like an autonomic heart beat that you don't need to think about, automatic tiering continually pumps data throughout the organization in real time—when and where it's needed most, at the lowest possible cost. ESG Lab testing showed significant improvements in response times for workloads mirroring typical business environments. RealStor 2.0 software quickly adapted to rapidly changing workloads. We believe customers will welcome Dot Hill's simply elegant approach to storage management that saves time and money, delivers great performance at a compelling price point, and eliminates the hassle of dealing with RAID."
"ESG Lab has validated our own findings by providing extensive, thorough third-party performance testing of Dot Hill RealStor 2.0 and our Ultra48 AssuredSAN hybrid storage system," said Bill Wuertz, senior vice president, products and solutions, Dot Hill. "With high-performance controllers, redundant design, and RealStor 2.0 software included standard, Dot Hill AssuredSAN ultra-density hybrid storage arrays provide optimal hardware platforms for virtualized server environments, transaction-intensive applications or any environment that calls for a storage system that can respond in real time to constantly changing workloads."
Simply Smart and Efficient
As the ESG Lab report notes, RealStor 2.0 was designed with the goal of improving the efficiency, manageability, and performance of pools of storage. "Pools of HDDs, SSDs and a hybrid mix of both are supported. After configuring storage into one or more autonomic pools, RealStor 2.0 kicks in and works automatically as it delivers a simply powerful range of smart and efficient storage services," states the report. Those services include:
- RealTier, which improves performance and reduces costs. Frequently accessed 4MB chunks of application data are moved to a higher performing tier (e.g., SSD) for faster performance, and infrequently accessed chunks are moved to a lower cost tier (e.g., near-line SAS) for reduced costs.
- RealPool, which simplifies the definition and management of tiered pools of storage with a powerful, yet simple-to-manage, storage virtualization layer.
- RealSnap™, which provides zero-impact data copies for quick and easy recovery and test development. Read-only and writeable snapshots are supported with redirect-on-write technology and no need for zero block recovery.
- RealQuick, which reduces the risk of data loss after a drive failure with fast RAID rebuilds. Instead of rebuilding an entire RAID group, only the capacity that has been allocated to storage volumes is rebuilt to restore data protection more quickly.
- RealThin, which reduces the cost of storage capacity with thin provisioning. Instead of reserving and consuming storage when host volumes are created, thin provisioning consumes capacity as needed by applications.
- RealCache, which provides a quick real-time performance boost for business-critical applications with SSD configured as a caching layer for frequently accessed read data.
RealStor 2.0 is Dot Hill's second-generation storage virtualization software that delivers simple, smart, and efficient storage management services. Included standard with powerful Dot Hill AssuredSAN 4000 Series hybrid storage solutions such as the Ultra48 and Ultra56™ AssuredSAN ultra-density chassis options, RealStor 2.0 fuels a powerful set of autonomic efficiencies including SSD caching, SSD and HDD tiering in real-time, thin provisioning, zero-impact snapshots, and quick RAID rebuilds. A new and improved management interface streamlines deployment and simplifies routine storage configuration and management tasks.
About Dot Hill
Leveraging its proprietary Assured family of storage solutions, Dot Hill solves many of today's most challenging storage problems - helping IT to improve performance, increase availability, simplify operations, and reduce costs. Dot Hill's solutions combine breakthrough software with the industry's most flexible and extensive hardware platform and automated management to deliver best-in-class solutions. Headquartered in Longmont, Colo., Dot Hill has offices and/or representatives in China, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
For more information, visit us at www.dothill.com.
Statements contained in this press release regarding matters that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. Because such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties that Dot Hill may face, please consult the Company's most recent Forms 10-Q and 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date on which they were made. Dot Hill undertakes no obligation to update such statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made. Dot Hill is not responsible for statements made by third-parties, including ESG Labs.
Over 83% of consumers would stay loyal to a retailer with an easier returns delivery service but majority expect a free service and more convenience and choice
LONDON, UK – The MetaPack Group, the leading provider of eCommerce technology for delivery services, today highlighted new research into how a retailer's returns policy can be a positive tool for customer retention and brand loyalty. An infographic of the findings is available here - http://www.metapack.com/press-release/returns-are-the-key-to-retaining-uk-customers-says-new-research/
MetaPack's research was undertaken to understand what people really think about the returns processes that are currently on offer from retailers across Europe. The findings reveal that 83% of consumers would stay loyal if a retailer could provide a reliable and effective returns service. With retention being a key factor in the success of a retailer, it is clear that an efficient returns policy could provide a compelling competitive advantage in the crowded market and act as a lever to drive additional sales.
The research shows that consumers are increasingly expecting the same price, flexibility and convenience when they return a product as when it is delivered. This view was echoed across a wide range of ages and shoppers, regardless if the consumer was a light, medium or heavy user of online shopping. It also found that over a quarter of consumers find it difficult or frustrating to return items they have bought online - of these, 58% were unhappy because the service was not free, 51% complained that it was too complicated and 46% found that it was not convenient to drop off the parcel. Consumers, educated well about price, ease of use and convenience for the drop-off of their order, are now expecting exactly the same service for the return - and they'll take their business elsewhere if they don't get it.
Kees de Vos, Chief Commercial Officer at MetaPack, said "Having lots of options is no longer a luxury - it has become a necessity. Returns are well-known to be a tricky area for online retailers. But returns should be seen as an opportunity to build brand loyalty and retention through offering convenience and choice and a positive experience to support future spending. It's important that retailers invest in reverse logistics capabilities to support multichannel so that increased volumes of returns can be managed independently without disrupting the rest of the system. One option may be to look at services like Uber that could offer a flexible pickup service as well as how expanding networks of click and collect sites can be utilised."
MetaPack will be hosting a webinar on the 21st April to discuss some of the key themes of the research and how retailers can keep pace with consumer demand for flexibility in returns. Register now www.metapack.com/report/returns-the-new-battle-ground-for-retail
Leading cloud commodities trade and risk management solution provider Aspect announced that Swiss trading client Orka NRG AG has upgraded its AspectCTRM oil and biodiesel trade and risk support to now include the trading of base metals.
The seamless upgrade reflects Orka’s increasing focus on growing world markets for aluminum, zinc and other base metals as lightweight, high-strength alternatives to steel that offer potentially better performance and fuel efficiency, particularly in the aviation and automobile sectors.
According to Orka's metals trader Gustaf Dyrssen, "I've used a number of systems through the years, and Aspect's is impressive thanks in particular to its reporting capabilities, which allow us to view and manage our positions in real-time, and easily drill down into the data.”
The Aspect solution at Orka - implemented initially for its oils business only - replaces a previous spreadsheet-based system. Spreadsheets were seen as prone to errors and no longer acceptable to many banks and counterparties as an effective way of managing risk. Aspect’s ETRM/CTRM solution provides real-time visibility of deals and exposure throughout the entire trading lifecycle, covering physical tonnage and associated LME hedges.
Aspect’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) architecture led to a very rapid deployment while its simple and intuitive web interface meant traders were using the solution within just one week. With a declared aim to grow steadily by concentrating on high margin, volatile niche markets, Orka regards its AspectCTRM deployment as being a key contributor to its success.
“The Aspect solution for metals was implemented very, very quickly and after only one week of training I was using the system routinely for our day-to-day business,” says Orka director Loris Francioli. “After a few more weeks use I am seeing real improvements in efficiency.”
Further to Aspect's refined metals functionality for clients, its most recent CTRM Cloud Release features several metals concentrates trading enhancements including full support for management of physical and hedging activity. Users can manage moisture; treatment charges linked to forward curves; refining charges per metal; penalties; detailed P&L individually by contract and against the total P&L, all with powerful and flexible reporting options.
All of Aspect’s applications are delivered in the cloud. Their inherent scalability and the speed with which they can be deployed contrasts dramatically with traditional CTRM software systems which typically take a year or more to implement and which fail to effectively scale downwards to support smaller trading operations. The company, now 15 years in business, has just celebrated a record financial year, winning more CTRM business than any other vendor in 2014.
About Aspect Enterprise Solutions
Aspect is a leading global provider of multi-commodity trade, risk and operations management applications delivered Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) in the cloud. With almost 500 customers in 90 countries, it's one of the fastest growing providers with rapid deployment, affordable subscriptions, and immediate ROI for all size companies. Solutions include AspectCTRM®, a full-featured commodity trading and risk management enterprise suite for front, middle and back office. It’s available in three editions: Lite, Standard and Enterprise, expanding in functionality according to the needs and budgets of clients. Aspect is the only ETRM/CTRM solutions provider with market data and analytics tools delivered with its trade and risk functions on the same platform. This provides users with a seamless packaged solution beginning with pre-trade pricing analysis and market assessments via AspectDSC. Aspect's solutions are available on desktop, tables and mobile devices and through its new Aspect Partner Program (APP).
Recognized for 2015 Top Continuity and Resiliency Provider and Industry Personality of the Year
BLUE BELL, Pa. – The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) 2015 North America Awards took place on Tuesday, March 24 in Orlando, FL at Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ) Spring World 2015. At the conference, BCI recognized Strategic BCP® in two categories:
1. "Continuity and Resiliency Provider of the Year" given to Strategic BCP’s business continuity planning and risk management software, known as ResilienceONE®.
BCI selected Strategic BCP’s ResilienceONE based on client feedback. Some excerpts from over a dozen endorsements include: "Now that audits are all turning risk-based, ResilienceONE gives us a central location to view our risks and easily determine our mitigation strategy based on risk categorization…" -- “ResilienceONE is an easy-to-use tool that allows me to bring value to the organization, even outside of continuity…" -- "Utilizing ResilienceONE to declare a simulated disaster; our personnel learn how to monitor and update status, as well as communicate via conference call…" -- "The BIA portion removes the subjectivity commonly found in this practice and has withstood many different exams by all types of regulators…" -- “This is the only software where you can have it all—business continuity, disaster recovery, crisis management and risk assessment…"
2. "Industry Personality of the Year" was presented to Christopher Duffy, who leads Strategic BCP’s advisory and consulting practice, based on a public voting process from his peers within the BC/DR industry.
Christopher was among five entrants to this BCI award category. He designs Disaster Recovery (DR) alternatives and helps clients increase the visibility of their Business Continuity (BC) program. Christopher specializes in BC/DR risk mitigation and has experience in vendor management, software-as-service (SaaS), and data center design. His hands-on leadership helps advance Strategic BCP’s capabilities and ensures the success of his clients as they are developing and implementing robust DR/BCP plans.
"On behalf of the BCI, the USA and Canadian Chapters, and all of our members, I would like to congratulate Strategic BCP on its two 2015 awards—provider of the year and industry personality, says BCI US Chapter President Brian Zwanda (FCBI, MBCP). “The organization as a whole should be proud of this recognition and I’m confident both ResilienceONE and Chris Duffy will represent the North American market well during the global awards process that takes place later in the year."
These awards—based on customer endorsement and objective industry opinion—add to Strategic BCP’s ongoing recognition from BCI and other leading industry organizations, and underscores the efforts and success for their clients in BC/DR planning.
During the first quarter of 2015 Continuity Central conducted an online survey asking business continuity professionals about their expectations for the rest of 2015.
239 responses were received, with the majority (82.8 percent) being from large organizations (companies with more than 250 employees). The highest percentage of respondents were from the United States (35.6 percent), followed by the UK (24.7 percent). Significant numbers of responses were also received from Australia and New Zealand (6.7 percent), Canada (5.9 percent) and India (4 percent).
BSI has published a white paper that explores the role of metrics in the ISO 22301 business continuity standard and aims to help people understand the standard’s BCM measurement requirements.
The executive summary of the 'Measurement matters: the role of metrics in ISO 22301' white paper states that ISO 22301 recognizes the importance of having accurate performance information, laying down requirements for ‘monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation’. However, the emphasis on monitoring performance, measurement and metrics in ISO 22301 has caused confusion in some organizations. This whitepaper clarifies the requirements around measurement in ISO 22301. In addition three BSI clients describe how they have approached these requirements.
Read the white paper (PDF).