Unresponsive data centres can lead to supply chain chaos

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Data centres may be putting supply chain continuity at risk if they are not agile, available and responsive enough to deal with incidents such as a power outage warns data centre consolidation experts Richardson Eyres.

A recent study conducted by the company in conjunction with industry analyst IDL has revealed that an improvement in the efficiency of supply chain continuity is a high priority for retailers. However, according to Richardson Eyres, if the data centre is not running at optimum efficiency and an incident occurs it may not respond quickly enough to prevent a knock on effect for the supply chain.

The rapid growth of 24x7 ecommerce and the increasing automation of many business processes throughout the supply chain put an enormous burden on the effective operation of IT services. Supply chains are becoming increasingly complex and even the most minor glitch can have a drastic effect. In an attempt to adopt best practice policies and procedures, many retail organisations are adopting BS 25999, the worlds first British standard for business continuity management and will also expect their suppliers to adhere to the guidelines if they are to trade together. However, in order for this standard to be effective, it is imperative that efficient IT processes and controls are in place.

The retail executives we interviewed for our study face a multitude of challenges when it comes to the supply chain. The impact of any IT downtime can be dire for retailers as it can cause severe delays on product production or delivery. The continued operation of the business in the event of a disaster is therefore crucial, says Adam Kemp, director, Richardson Eyres.

Traditional server and storage environments struggle to meet aggressive demands due to the time it takes to recover, synchronise and recreate at the time of an incident. To achieve efficient business continuity at an affordable price, organisations need to take steps to increase data centre agility, availability and responsiveness.

In addition to supply chain responsiveness, the study highlights a number of other serious challenges facing retailers when it comes to business continuity, and these include efficiency of staff continuity support processes, increased IT availability, meeting regulator and legal demands and reducing continuity insurance.

Business continuity cannot be left to chance. A proactive reaction to incidents such as extreme weather, fire, flood, power outage, pandemic, climate change and strikes is a must for any retail organisation offering 24x7 availability and the BS 25999 standard has been developed to help businesses minimise the risk.

Richardson Eyres offers support for data centre management by providing infrastructure solutions that meet the best practice guidelines defined in the BS 25999 Business Continuity Management System Standard. It uses virtualisation technologies in the data centre to address the major issues of continuity, availability, cost, time, energy and change.

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