Thorn EMI Datasolve’s Datashield arm has announced plans to expand its disaster recovery operations through the provision of its first cold site. It will be available for customers unable to resurrect their data centres within the 12-week time limit applied to the company’s two hot sites. Datashield chief John Kerby claims that the new facility, housed in a car park opposite the Hayes, Middlesex-based hot site, will be fully operational by April 1. Six of the company’s 57 existing customers are already waiting to contract, he added. The new site will provide electricity, water and leased British Telecom and Mercury Communications lines; clients are expected to take out a contract for Portakabin-type accomodation. Meanwhile, Kerby claims that disaster recovery business is booming. The implications of the Financial Services and Building Societies Acts, coupled with increasing pressure from internal audits, means that Datashield is now taking on one new client a month, he says. Overall, Kerby claims that Datashield is now growing at an annual rate of 50%, with retail and distribution firms tipped to provide a substantial proportion of new clients. Current estimates place the annual growth rate for the disaster recovery market as a whole at around 30%. In addition to its existing facilities, the company plans a third hot site, and the provision of a second cold site at Thorn EMI’s Social Club in Hayes. Datashield is also in the midst of a consciousness-raising exercise, due to finish in April. It has produced a collection of contingency planning fact sheets, which it is targeting on a monthly basis at the managing directors, finance directors, and data-processing managers of 500 IBM mainframe-based companies. Four months on, it has received some 200 reply cards requesting further information.