The Luxembourg-based bank WestLB International has installed an information storage designed to keep its business running efficiently in the event of a computer operations failure.

The system, called Symmetrix, is the flagship product of EMC Corp., a Hopkinton, Mass.-based provider of storage for high-end computing environments such as mainframe data centers and large-scale client/server applications.

Symmetrix is a series of hardware and software systems for storing large amounts of information.

EMC this year enhanced the product with a remote "mirroring" feature, enabling a bank to instantly copy all data running critical applications to a data base at another distant site.

Remote mirroring enables a financial institution to get back on-line quickly in the event of fire, flood, power outage, computer failure, and other catastrophic events, said EMC officials.

Symmetrix "is designed to eliminate our customers' exposure to these costly and potentially devastating events," said Dick Blaschke, EMC's vice president in the enterprise systems group.

"Customers have the flexibility to strategically locate their remote site virtually anywhere in the world," he said.

WestLB, one of the first banks to implement the system, tested it extensively.

To prove the system's reliability in a business environment, the bank recently simulated a disaster by severing its computing operations from its remote data center.

Using Symmetrix, the bank recovered all data in its 2.3-terabyte data base in less than two minutes and returned all systems and applications to full operation in less than 90 minutes, according to bank officials.

The bank's entire computing operations are now supported by EMC's information storage systems, and the savings could be significant if a disaster occurred, WestLB officials said.

The bank estimated that a single day of downtime would represent millions of dollars in lost business. Two days would cause irreparable damage to some departments, WestLB said, and three would place the entire business in jeopardy.

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