Hurricane season is well underway and many of us have memories of the destruction they can cause for friends and family. It’s comforting to know that while the storm rages outside, your applications and data will be protected.
Most companies reevaluate their disaster recovery plan when hurricane season rolls around. It’s a good opportunity to think about business continuity and what your data center will do in case of a disaster. “The study of US data centers quantifies the average cost of an unplanned data center outage at slightly more than US$7,900 per minute. This is a 41% increase from the $5,600 it was in 2010, when Emerson and Ponemon first started downtime cost assessment studies,” says Yevgeniy Sverdlik at Datacenter Dynamics.
The harsh reality is that disasters can take place in many forms including tornadoes, floods, fires, and hurricanes. Having a hardened off-site data center that is prepared for natural disasters is a critical part of your disaster recovery plan.
After taking the time to review things like service-level agreements, it can be a good idea to talk to the data center manager about their processes for disaster preparedness. A good example would be asking when was the last time the data center performed a complete power shutdown. In this scenario, the power is turned off at the box outside of the building to ensure battery backups and generators react as intended. A good data center manager will maintain logs and be able to tell you exactly when this last occurred.
With some disasters, you can only learn from experience. Take for example an accident where a building collapsed close to one of vXchnge’s data centers. The power and dust from the collapsing building clogged the air intakes on the generators so they were no longer able to function.
This is a great example of how real-world experience can help your applications and data stay safe and continue running even when disasters are going on outside. By having actual data centers near disasters, we’ve learned from our experiences.
Whether you’re using colocation or running your own data center, it’s critical to maintain proper procedures and documentation for every time testing is done. At least once a year it’s important to audit your testing procedures to make sure that backup power and cooling are able to maintain your current load.
Properly planning and preparing for disasters will help you minimize the risk of expensive downtime. That way, you can relax knowing your applications and data are well protected.
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