Euroclear establishes third back-up data centre

Source: Euroclear

Euroclear announces the successful launch of a key phase of its comprehensive business-continuity programme with the recent opening of a third data centre.

The EUR 100 million programme, which started in 2003, is designed to provide leading-edge business recovery capabilities following a local or regional disaster in the locations where Euroclear operates.

The international central securities depository (CSD), Euroclear Bank, and the Euroclear national CSDs in Belgium, France and the Netherlands are able to resume technical operations for clients within an hour of a local disaster (e.g. fire, explosion), or within approximately three hours of a major regional disaster that renders the two primary data centres inoperable. Euroclear UK & Ireland has the same capability to resume technical operations within an hour of a local disaster, and will gain the means for full, regional disaster recovery once Euroclear completes the launch of its Single Platform.

Furthermore, as all critical business expertise and staff operate in "live dual-office" mode per Euroclear location and are spread across several distant sites, Euroclear is able to switch to business-contingency conditions within the same business day. Staff can work in this mode for several months, if necessary.

Tim May, Euroclear SA/NV Executive Director, stated: "The financial community at large has learned harsh lessons about being vigilant to threats that could impact the safety of our people and the functioning of our capital markets. The ability to fully restore operations quickly and accurately following a disaster is a crucial facet of Euroclear's client-focused approach to risk management. We have delivered an unparalleled level of data resilience among settlement infrastructure service providers in Europe."

Part of the investment required to reconfigure and build these data centres has been financed by savings from the rationalisation of the eight local data centres that were previously in operation by the Euroclear group CSDs collectively.

Business continuity at Euroclear

The Euroclear group's two primary data centres, located outside metropolitan areas, use real-time data replication and load-balancing features to ensure full synchronisation of data and transaction-processing capabilities between the two facilities. This allows either of the two primary data centres to take over technical operations within one hour of a local disaster affecting the other centre. Production data is also streamed asynchronously to the newly opened third data centre, located hundreds of kilometres away from the primary sites. The third data centre is designed to take over the group's (including Euroclear UK & Ireland targeted for 2010) critical transaction-processing and data-storage operations within three hours of a regional or metropolitan disaster that renders both primary data centres out of action. In extreme cases, a period of reconciliation may be required before full processing resumes using the third data centre.

At least once a year, a full disaster-recovery exercise is enacted by a cross section of staff, mirroring a true-to-life situation using the data centres to simulate, and react to, various disaster scenarios. The results of these exercises are monitored by the company's enterprise-wide risk management team, with adjustments made to refine risk readiness and response activities.

Furthermore, on a very regular basis, the live operational production environment is alternated between the two primary data centres to ensure full business activities can always be conducted using either of the primary data sites.

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