Are credit union hot sites dead!?

When Ongoing Operations got started, we were a collaborative project by 7 Washington DC area credit unions to establish a better hot site location with guaranteed recovery options.  Very quickly that evolved to needing to provide early Data Vaulting options, quick connectivity failover options and Business Continuity Plans.   However, fast forward 8 years and hundreds of recoveries later and I would argue the traditional credit union hot site is dead!

Ultimately, it has been a slow death.  Each year, the technology has improved and the options for virtual recoveries increased. Today, it seems silly that anyone would purchase an entire second set of infrastructure.   There are three main technologies that have created this transition.  The first is virtualization, the second is BGP routing, and the third is software based replication tools.  Collectively they are enabling credit unions large and small to achieve super-fast recovery times without the traditional headaches.

VMWare was created in 1998 and quickly has come to dominate the virtualization world. In the old days, you had to have two of each system so that when you restored your systems they would boot up correctly.  Virtualization changed all of this and is now so ubiquitous that other than one or two credit unions (and they aren’t OGO Clients), every credit union is using VMWare or Microsoft’s Virtualization software.  This software allows you to A) decouple of the physical hardware dependency, B) run multiple servers on the same piece of hardware, C) enabled cloud computing – eventually leading to not needing to have a dedicated hot site.

The second technology is the creation of BGP routing protocol – the most current version came about in 2006 but earlier versions date back to the early internet days in 1994.   BGP routing enables your network to be setup to auto failover between several options. BGP is key element as over the past 10 years credit unions have moved from legacy T1 lines and Frame Relay circuits to VPN connections for Credit Card, Debit Card, ATM and Online Banking processing.  The ability to leverage the internet, BGP, and VPNs mean it is now possible to reroute all of your third party connections in seconds and without manual intervention.  This creates high-uptime at your production site and enables you to failover to your cloud backup site quickly.

Lastly, there are three main tools out that leverage Virtualization for recovery purposes.  These include: 1) VM Wares SRM, or site recovery manager 2) A software product called Veeam, and 3) A company called Zerto which is the main technology behind Ongoing Operations Replicator.   There are probably another hundred but in our experience those are the best day in day out.   Our preference is for Zerto as it provides a security framework that enables the service provider (OGO in this case) to not add to the credit union’s IT Security Risk.

Put all of these together and mix in some virtual desktop and VoIP based phones and not only can you recover your data quickly, efficiently, securely and offsite but you can also provide work from home tools that support your credit union employees.  Ultimately, we think Hot Sites still have a little life yet, especially for bigger, more complex environments and most importantly the folks that want to control every aspect themselves and not rely on anyone.  For those guys – credit union hot sites aren’t going anywhere!

Kirk Drake

Kirk Drake

Kirk Drake is founder and CEO of Ongoing Operations, LLC, a rapidly growing CUSO that provides complete business continuity and technology solutions. With its recent acquisition of Cloudworks, Ongoing Operations ... Web: Details