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Business continuity lights up for BAT

Computer Weekly Staff

British American Tobacco employs more than 55,000 people worldwide and sells its brands in more than 180 countries. With such a global presence, always-available 24x7 access to corporate tools such as e-mail and management platforms is vital to support executives travelling across the world and operating in many time zones.

With mobile working such an integral part of British American Tobacco's business, the company is rolling out a five-stage project to equip executives with Blackberry handhelds with advanced capabilities, such as mobile access to SAP systems, secure browsing of the company's intranet content and powerful search capabilities.

As part of this project, British American Tobacco required a robust business continuity system to ensure high availability for its Blackberry environment. When examining the available options, one stipulation was that the system would have to protect not only BritBritish American Tobacco rolls out Neverfail

British American Tobacco employs more than 55,000 people worldwide and sells its brands in more than 180 countries. With such a global presence, always-available 24x7 access to corporate tools such as e-mail and management platforms is vital to support executives travelling across the world and operating in many time zones.

With mobile working such an integral part of British American Tobacco's business, the company is rolling out a five-stage project to equip executives with Blackberry handhelds with advanced capabilities, such as mobile access to SAP systems, secure browsing of the company's intranet content and powerful search capabilities.

As part of this project, British American Tobacco required a robust business continuity system to ensure high availability for its Blackberry environment. When examining the available options, one stipulation was that the system would have to protect not only British American Tobacco's Blackberry Enterprise Server, but also its IBM Lotus Domino and Microsoft SQL Server installations, all of which support British American Tobacco's mobile strategy.

British American Tobacco chose a system from Neverfail, which was able to offer this capability as well as provide seamless failover at the touch of a button.

In September 2006, British American Tobacco deployed the Neverfail suite for a pilot group of 70 executives. To put the system to the test, the headquarters IT team planned a failover of its Blackberry, Lotus Domino and SQL Server services to its disaster recovery site, located 40 miles from the London head office, during business hours.

"We failed over soon after the start of the business day, and all Blackberry services ran for the day without a problem," said Laurence Dale, technical architect of the company's Blackberry system. "We failed back that evening without any disruption in service."

The Neverfail technology allows British American Tobacco to clone data from a primary server on a passive secondary server, and monitors the performance of the application environment. If problems are encountered, users can be switched to the secondary server while staying connected to working applications.

Through the use of mobile devices, British American Tobacco estimates that executives gain an average of 50 minutes of extra productivity a day.

"British American Tobacco's mobile platforms have come to lie at the heart of our business use of technology," said David Sampson, head of headquarters IT at the company.

● Neverfail is exhibiting on stand 270 at Storage Expo 2007





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