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11/24/2004
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Bank Revises Availability Strategy

Commerce Bank builds disaster-recovery site for auxiliary data near its data center to ease compliance with regulations

Commerce Bank NA is setting up a new disaster-recovery site in an old plant it purchased that stands just a mile from its data center in Cherry Hill, N.J. The company will continue to use SunGard Availability Services backup facilities in Philadelphia for its mainframe data, including its customer-information database. At the new site, the bank will back up all other data, including E-mail, images for its check-imaging deployments, internal financial data, and Web-application data.

SunGard uses EMC Corp. replication software at the site it maintains for Commerce Bank, and Commerce Bank plans to use a midrange version of EMC's software at its new high-availability site, says Charles DiPietropolo, VP and manager of data-center operations at the bank.

The data that will be backed up at the new site previously either wasn't backed up or was backed up to media such as tape, where it couldn't be accessed quickly. But the passage of new regulations that require companies to be able to produce information quickly, including E-mails, in the event of a federal investigation or court case, led to the bank's rethinking of its availability strategy for this data.

The bank declined to provide information on costs of setting up and maintaining its new operation. But a key factor was to set up its new facility close to its data center, DiPietropolo says. It's a five-minute trip in case employees need to get there after an outage. "We're in total control," he says.

Commerce Bank plans to mirror to the new facility all the data being backed up by the middle of next year. Its mainframe data already is mirrored between its data center and SunGard's facility. "With mirrored data, we're up all the time and recovery occurs in less than half an hour," DiPietropolo says.

The bank has 300 branches, with plans for 60 more, including moving into Connecticut, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. "We're getting larger," DiPietropolo says, "and putting customers out front with uninterrupted service."

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