Concordia was founded in 1993 with under $5 million dollars as a multi-strategy fund. Today London-based Concordia Advisors, LLP, together with other independent Concordia companies with locations in Bermuda and New York, manages in excess of $2.2 billion in hedge fund and managed accounts; investing in equity, fixed income, distressed debt and municipal bond strategies.

Concordia's business drivers
Within Concordia, applications that support analysis and trading require high availability, and in the event of a disaster, fast and auditable recovery. Like most firms in the financial services industry, email also plays a critical role in day-to-day operations and is subject to similar recovery requirements.

As with any financial institution, compliance with regulatory measures required Concordia to have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place to allow it to fully recover its business in case of a disaster of any kind. As a leader in its industry Concordia sought to extend this capability, allowing its investment advisors to have access to account and trading information on a continuous basis. And, in case of a disaster at one of their production data centres, enable advisors to regain access to its data in near real time, regardless of where they were located.

Concordia's needs
With data centres in London and New York, Concordia relied on tape backups as the backbone of its data protection strategy. Tapes in each production site would be created on a daily basis and shipped offsite to be recovered at an alternate site in the event of a serious outage. Although this approach was reliable, the recovery time and data currency that this approach yielded was 24 hours in the best case. Concordia’s goal was to achieve complete fail-over in several hours, while ensuring recovery of all data: this in conjunction with not having to move personnel from one site to another. To accomplish this Concordia needed to implement a disaster recovery solution which met the following criteria:

- Ability to replicate data between its New York and London data centres and guarantee recoverability of a 100% consistent image of its production data
- Support recoverability in minutes (RTO) with up-to-the-second data currency (RPO) for critical trading and exchange applications
- Minimise cost and disruption by supporting Concordia’s existing heterogeneous storage and servers and utilising in-place network infrastructure

What Concordia decided
After an evaluation of multiple options and discussions with users in the trading group, the Concordia management team reached the decision that the most effective disaster recovery plan would designate the London location as the disaster recovery site for the New York location; the Topio Data Protection Suite (TDPS) would be deployed to support near real time recovery objectives for Concordia’s email account management and trading applications.

With TDPS, data changes from key applications in Concordia’s New York location are continuously replicated to the London recovery site using Concordia’s existing IP network infrastructure. This eliminates the need for tape backups to be created and shipped across the Atlantic, and at the same time allows data created in New York to be captured in London in real time. In London, current images of New York’s production data are maintained on disk in a recovery-ready state, and application servers are available for expedited cut-over should processing capability be lost in New York. On a periodic basis tape backups are created in London and vaulted as a second tier of protection.

Keshu Odedra, IT Director, Concordia Advisors, said: “Having a near-real-time recovery plan definitely has an advantage for us in terms of our business performance, and in terms of testing, can validate our recovery much more thoroughly on a regular basis without too much cost to us in terms of time and money.”

In addition to increasing business resiliency and simplifying recovery operations, reducing recovery time with TDPS also streamlined Concordia’s testing process, to reduce the cost of ensuring compliant recovery practices are in place.

TDPS’ delivery of recovery performance over distance, data integrity, and effective use of processing and network resources were the primary factors in Concordia’s choice of Topio to support their aggressive business continuance objectives.

Two minute RPO
“Our initial testing experience was very positive,” said Keshu Odedra, Concordia’s Director of IT, “We have been able to recover an application in as little as 20 minutes with an RPO of two minutes during periods of high network activity.”

Concordia also believed that using its IP network was the most efficient way to move data over long distances as they were able to leverage their in-house skills and existing infrastructure. “Over the course of the implementation Topio helped us tune our procedures to reduce the overall bandwidth required for replication from 50MB/sec to about 16MB/sec,” said Odedra, “so we get the recovery performance we need with the optimal resource utilisation.”

Find out more about Topio here.