A leading provider of disaster recovery services said it has become the first vendor to make International Business Machines Corp.'s largest mainframe available to banks that suffer outages in their data centers.
Comdisco Disaster Recovery Services, Rosemont, Ill., spent $22 million to install the mammoth ES/9000 model 900 mainframe in its Carlstadt, N.J., backup data center over the Labor Day weekend, officials said.
Comdisco is expected to beat its biggest competitors, IBM's Business Recovery Services unit and SunGard Recovery Services Inc., Wayne, Pa., by as much as nine months with availability of the mainframe.
Demand Seen Growing
IBM began shipping the ES/9000 model 900 just last fall. Demand for backup ES/9000 model 900s is expected to grow as large banks and other companies move to install the machine.
"Any number of corporations, including banks, would be interested in an ES/9000 at Carlstadt," said John Carney, Chicago-based assistant vice president for European American Bancorp, Uniondale, N.Y.
Mr. Carney said the ES/9000 has many unique technical characteristics that can make it hard to back up with any other type of computer.
He added that EAB is a Comdisco customer, and plans in October to test its ability to move software from its primary data center to Comdisco's backup ES/9000.
Chemical Banking Corp. has an ES/9000, and eventually expects to use Comdisco's ES/9000 to back it up, said Sal DiBari, vice president for data security and disaster recovery.
Douglas A. Cogswell, executive vice president of Comdisco Disaster Recovery, said the Carlstadt facility is used as a backup site by several large corporations, including more than a dozen large New York-area banks.
Data center contingency planning has become a big issue in recent years as high-profile problems, including flooding in Chicago, power and telecommunications outages in New York, and the earthquake in San Francisco, have knocked out dozens of corporate computing facilities.
If their computers went down for more than a few hours, many banks would go out of business. As a result, financial institutions are required to plan for uninterrupted computer operations in the event of a natural or mandate disaster.
A Third of Revenue from Banks
Mr. Cogswell said Comdisco Disaster Recovery expects revenues of $200 million for the fiscal year ending in September, about one-third of which will come from banks.
Comdisco Disaster Recovery is owned by Comdisco Inc., a computer leasing firm with $2 billion in sales.
SunGard Recovery pulled in revenues of $83.5 million in 1991, about 25% of which came from banks, officials said.
The company is a unit of SunGard Data Systems Inc., which reported revenues of $284 million last year, about half of which came from software sales to financial institutions.
IBM, the world's largest computer vendor, does not disclose revenues from backup computer services.