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The long distance between the two computer centres at Modern Terminals and the complicated land-sea relocation setting was a challenge of the relocation project. Round-the-clock operation made it very difficult to arrange timeslots for data migration and infrastructure configuration
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The new solution is run on full TCP/IP using version 4 of IP protocol with possibility to upgrade to version 6 for future enhancement. Two separate 100Mbps Metro Ethernet WAN links and one Gbps high-speed Fibre Channel are established for network resilience, data replication and load-balancing
Modern Terminals Boosts Crisis Management Capability with WTT's Recovery Solution

Established in 1969, Modern Terminals Limited has been a major player in the Hong Kong container terminal industry. As the forerunner of the industry, Modern Terminals had built the Hong Kong's first custom designed container terminal in 1972, establishing itself as the leader of the industry.

In modern logistics, information technology and business continuity are as important as physical connectivity, especially if a company wishes to thrive in a competitive market. "To satisfy our future business development and operating requirements while maximising our company's value and profitability, we need to further enhance our technology capability and business process management to stay ahead of the competition," said Mr. C.K. Cheng, I.T. Manager - Infrastructure of Modern Terminals.

The Need for Stringent Corporate Governance

Modern Terminals is committed to providing the physical gateway for the container and cargo flows that drive the development of China's economy. "We have a clear vision to expand our presence in the Pearl and Yangtze River Deltas and have significant operations in the key growth regions of China. By 2010, our throughput and company value would be doubled in comparison to 2005 as we have secured significant terminal developments in China, ensuring continued strong growth. A well-planned IT infrastructure and IT capability will play a significant role in realising our vision. The foreseeable growth stimulated us to re-design our disaster recovery plan," Mr. Cheng added.

Modern Terminals owns and operates Container Terminals (CT) 1, 2, 5 and 9 (South) in Kwai Tsing Port with a total throughput of 5.72 million TEUs in 2007. As Modern Terminals operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it has a huge demand on data security, accuracy and availability. "Modern Terminals managed and hosted its Terminal Operating Systems (TOS) and IT services through two computer centres located at CT1, 2 & 5 which are 500 metres apart. While we were satisfied with the previous settings due to its stability and reliability, the old design was unable to cope with our newly enhanced corporate governance requirements and business continuity needs," added Mr. Cheng. "TOS has been identified as a mission critical application which manages all incoming and outgoing containers at Modern Terminals. The geographical distance between the two computer centres was not far enough to maintain operation if both computer centres were down in the event of crisis or severe weather condition."

Challenges for Round-the-Clock Operation

The new disaster recovery plan involves the building of a new computer centre at CT9 on Tsing Yi Island where the geographical distance and infrastructure setting are more suitable for the new business continuity requirements. "We did not have much experience in large scale data centre renovation and removal project. When we decided to build a new disaster recovery site at CT9, the relocation project was definitely a challenge for us given the long distance between the two computer centres and the complicated land-sea relocation setting involved," commented Mr. Cheng. "It was very difficult to arrange timeslots for data migration and infrastructure configuration. Only if we got hold of the final set-off time for vessel arrival and departure, then the accurate migration timeslot could be determined, but normally it was in very short notice."

Road to Rigorous Disaster Recovery Plan

As the sophisticated service provider with over 36 years of experience in disaster recovery and continuity solutions, WTT and its subsidiary COL clearly understood the specific industry requirements of Modern Terminals, to which round-the-clock operation and data accuracy and availability are critical. WTT carefully selected Cisco as the backbone network infrastructure and incorporated them with Checkpoint's firewall as well as Juniper Secure Access for tightened security control and efficient management of network traffic.

New Disaster Recovery Configuration

A new core network infrastructure and Internet service have been built at CT9 and relocation of networking and Internet equipment from Computer Centre 1 at CT1, 2 & 5 to Computer Centre 3 at CT9 has been carried out. Computer Centre 3 is designated for development & disaster recovery purposes while Computer Centre 2 will be the production site.

As a result, over 45 pieces of critical network equipment have been replaced. Two separate 100Mbps Metro Ethernet WAN links and one Gbps high-speed Fibre Channel are established for network resilience, data replication and load-balancing in addition to the development of a new network hardware platform and Internet platform for enhanced routing capability and security protection. The new solution is run on full TCP/IP using version 4 of IP protocol with possibility to upgrade to version 6 for future enhancement. Remote site connection between Computer Centre 3 and Computer Centre 2 is equipped with one 100Mbps Fast Ethernet Link and another single 100Mbps Link for the Hub room.

Quantum Leap in System Enhancement

The distance between the disaster site and production site is now extended to 3km which provides extra protection against site failure. Network resilience and data reliability are achieved with an additional dedicated network path connecting to the computer centre at CT9 to separate live production data and backup data. The implementation of 100Mpbs Fast Ethernet Lines between CT1, 2, 5 and CT9 has improved the transactions response time of mission critical application by 60%. Moreover, overall transactions performance including office administration operation systems and document management has been enhanced by 77%.

"We are impressed by WTT's technical consultants' know-how and strong problem-solving skills of tackling unexpected issues during migration and implementation. Due to our distinct operation environment, it is very difficult to schedule maintenance period for data & network migration. WTT's technical team has demonstrated a can-do attitude and professionalism which helped us carry out configuration and migration onsite at odd hours with very short notice," said Mr. Cheng. "We are glad to have found a reliable partner who provides cost-effective total disaster recovery and network solutions tailored for our specific industry requirements."