ContinuitySA, Africa’s leading provider of business continuity services, has launched a mobile data centre service to give clients a new way to mitigate IT risk. Market take-up has been quick, with the new mobile unit already in use at a client site.
“Businesses are very vulnerable to IT risk,” says Mark Beverley, general manager for service delivery at ContinuitySA. “Now, however, IT failure no longer means that the whole company has to relocate to the disaster recovery site. If the disaster is solely related to IT, we can restore the IT onsite via the mobile data centre, thus ensuring minimal disruption.”
Beverley explains that IT failure accounts for a high proportion of the disaster declarations among ContinuitySA clients.
ContinuitySA’s mobile data centre is housed in a container—but one that was specially designed for local conditions after extensive investigation of international units.
“Our unit is designed to fit onto a standard 14 metre trailer, so it can be transported to the client site with minimal delay,” says Beverley. “Unlike international units, however, the cooling system is integrated into the design—and it’s tough enough to cope with African conditions. The container is also painted white to reflect heat.”
The unit can accommodate 12 fully populated APC racks each with 5 kilowatts of power. The racks are removable in case non-standard racks are needed by a customer. Racks are secured during transit, and the unit also contains links to power (mains or generator) and fibre-optic networks. The mobile unit was also designed to provide a certain degree of resilience given that it is likely to be placed in an uncontrolled environment.
“Aside from the design of the container, we have also developed the skills to configure the equipment and get the unit connected quickly to the power supply and network once it’s on site,” Beverley notes.
Subscribers to the service can either supply their own equipment or use equipment supplied by ContinuitySA. If they are also using ContinuitySA for replication or other backup services, the equipment could arrive with data already loaded.
“The unit is designed to be as flexible as possible so we can give clients what they need,” concludes Beverley. “We think this offers clients a great way to keep their IT systems up and running without having to move the whole workforce. The market is responding well to this innovation, making it likely we will commission additional units in time.”