For all that human society has progressed, for all that we’ve taken command of our environment, Mother Nature can still crush us with a flick of the wrist. That isn’t to say we haven’t gotten better at predicting – and weathering through – natural disasters. We definitely have.
When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City in 2012, many data centers were taken offline. Many, but not all. Some, like Peer 1 Hosting, managed to survive without even suffering downtime.
They were prepared. Whether you live in a region susceptible to earthquakes or simply are at risk of a cyberattack, you should be too. Here are a few things every data center needs in order to survive a disaster.
During inclement weather especially, power lines can end up being somewhat spotty. There’s a good chance that, at some point during a crisis, your facility might lose power. In order to ensure business continuity, you need to have fully-charged, fully-maintained UPS systems – that way your servers can keep running in the short time it takes your backup generators to spin up.
Properly-Maintained Backup Generators
As we mentioned in a previous post, ensuring your backup generators (and the fuel they take) is properly maintained is essential for the successful operation of your data center. Yet many organizations fail to do this – and still more don’t keep enough fuel on-site to make it through an extended power outage. Regularly check your components for signs of failure, and ensure your fuel is properly stored.
A Tested Disaster Recovery Plan
It’s not really enough to have a disaster recovery plan if you never put that plan to the test. You need to ensure that every disaster recovery process you’re relying on actually works when push comes to shove – and you need to be certain that your employees will be able to carry out their duties when disaster does strike. It’s no good having an established plan in mind if that plan falls apart the moment a real crisis strikes, after all.
“”Think through the most likely threats to your business, keeping in mind everything from human error to component failure to natural disaster,” explains Vision Solutions CTO Alan R. Arnold, speaking to CIO Magazine. “Creatively examine options for cost-effectively protecting your data in a place geographically distant from those threats. That may require access to a second data center or a cloud-based strategy. [And] be sure to account for all servers in your infrastructure.”
Many suppliers now offer hardware and enclosures that are designed to take a beating, from the technology deployed to earthquake-proof Japanese data centers to fireproof, redundant appliances and hard drives. If your data center is situated in an area that’s at high risk of a natural disaster, it may be worthwhile to look into outfitting the facility with stuff like this – though I’d recommend at least fireproofing things even if you’re not in a disaster zone.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you’ve backup and disaster recovery systems. Especially if you’re running high-availability applications, you’ll want to maintain business continuity even if your main facility goes offline. Having offsite systems you can spin up when your main systems grind to a halt is invaluable – as is having backups.
Of course, if you’d rather not deal with all of these details on your own, you could always colocate with Liberty Center One, and let us handle things. Our facilities are completely redundant and disaster-proof. Even in the worst catastrophe, we’ll keep you online – that’s a promise.