SOURCE: Availl

March 08, 2006 08:00 ET

Fulcrum Pharma Gains Disaster Recovery During UK Refinery Disaster Using Availl WAFS

WAFS Software Allowed Global File Access, Kept Firm Operating While Headquarters Was Shuttered; Real-Time WAFS Mirroring, Instant Failover/Failback at All Offices Proved Business-Critical Throughout the Crisis

ANDOVER, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 8, 2006 -- Availl Inc., a leading provider of real-time data and storage software, announced that its customer Fulcrum Pharma of Hemel Hempstead, UK, kept its business operating in the aftermath of the Buncefield oil refinery fire using Availl WAFS (Wide Area File System) software. With its headquarters offices closed for several days, Fulcrum relied on Availl WAFS software running on their existing Windows servers to provide employees in their UK and US offices continuous access to all files without disruption. Fulcrum's worldwide teams remained productive during the weeks of physical outage -- with staffers' continued ongoing work fully accessible from any location 24 x 7.

Fulcrum's experience shows the disaster recovery benefits of Availl WAFS' solution for sharing dynamic files among remote offices at any distance, and providing continuous consolidated backup with instant failover and failback.

In its work to help pharmaceutical firms develop new drugs, Fulcrum creates virtual teams with members located in the UK and US based offices. Teams need to efficiently iterate on large numbers of shared files such as spreadsheets, Microsoft Project and Office files. Fulcrum also must demonstrate to its clients that its IT infrastructure meets demanding standards for disaster recovery.

Fulcrum deployed Availl software in 2005 primarily to allow local staffs across the oceans to work efficiently on important joint projects. Unlike WAFS solutions based on acceleration or caching, Availl WAFS is true real-time server-to-server mirror which delivers instant file access, with 100% coherence everywhere. If any server or the network fails, any other Availl-powered server can take over. All changes made to files while using a failover system will automatically mirror back to the original once the problem is resolved

Full Global File Access, Even During the Fire

The value of WAFS with instant failover/failback became readily apparent when disaster struck. On Sunday morning, December 12, the Buncefield oil depot fire destroyed Fulcrum's new office space and its existing offices and headquarters data center were not useable for over 48 hours. Meanwhile IT support to Fulcrum's worldwide users had to continue.

"Availl basically saved our bacon," said Jason Hamlett, IT manager for Fulcrum Pharma. "We would have been knocked out of business by this fire had it not been for Availl WAFS software. By having a full local copy of all files in the US and the UK -- files kept coherent and instantly updated -- we kept doing business almost without incident."

As IT staff watched the flames and smoke encircle their buildings on TV, their servers continued to make all files fully available to all staffers worldwide. The Hemel Hempstead servers simply failed over the users to the US and London servers. Availl is the only WAFS with fully integrated continuous backup consolidation, including infinite past versions and any moment in time restore.

"DR is not just a 'procedure' to save our business -- but a service which we provide to our customers and suppliers. If we had relied on only tape backup from the previous nights, we would have lost files and data -- certainly not something I'd want to explain to our clients."

Despite uncertainty for the next four weeks, Fulcrum IT staff kept normal computing operations worldwide without missing a beat. Within four weeks of the fire, Fulcrum's global WAFS network returned to the architecture it had followed before.

Lessons Learned

"Real time server to server file collaboration is why we deployed WAFS. However even in a well-architected network, simply providing a nightly data backup remains an operational point of failure. It may not be there for you in your hour of need," said Hamlett. "It's also easy to think that your original infrastructure will be back operational quickly, when circumstances may be far more uncertain."

"We literally tested our disaster recovery plan by fire, and largely because of Availl, we found we had assured business continuity," Hamlett said. "We were immensely grateful that we had built a highly redundant, continuously backed-up global network through our Availl deployment. It was the key solution that kept our business operating smoothly in the face of an extended period of uncertainty."

Fulcrum is presently expanding its Availl WAFS deployment to include additional sites in Scotland and France. The company is also testing Availl CDP software at its offices in Japan and France where IT needs to consolidate backups to the UK headquarters.

Availl was the first to marry WAFS and CDP technology for a single solution to remote office computing needs. Availl WAFS' coherent mirroring ensures local disk access speeds in an almost limitless number of locations simultaneously, and in complete synchronization -- no matter where changes are made. Real-time coherence ensures the latest file is accessed and file locking is projected across the globe -- no chance of conflicts.

Availl's patent pending approach, employed in both its WAFS and CDP products, sends only byte-level changes across the network. This technology eliminates 95% or more of the network bandwidth, and is also coupled with protocol optimization, chattiness elimination, encryption and compression. As a software-only product, Availl allows new deployments swiftly, without costly appliances or any added hardware resources.

About Availl

Founded in 2002, Availl provides Wide Area File System (WAFS) solutions for enterprises of all sizes. Availl's real time technology ensures that files exist in many remote locations simultaneously, and in complete synchronization with full version and file lock coherence -- no matter where changes are made. Availl's products are built on unique real-time technology for efficient multi-directional mirroring, rapid data caching and extreme data reduction, with guaranteed real-time file coherence between remote sites. It creates a unified file system at any distance via LAN, VPN, or web (http crossing firewalls). Availl also provides continuous data protection solutions for file and database backup consolidation.

Headquartered in Andover, MA, Availl is privately held and has been consistently profitable for over 2 years. Its large customer base includes major engineering design firms, financial service institutions, and many of the largest worldwide manufacturers among the Fortune 100. For more information, please visit

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