The month of September marks National Preparedness Month. This month-long initiative encourages both families and businesses to “Be Ready” (www.ready.gov) and prepare for the worst types of disasters, be those natural or man-made. If you are a business owner, this is the perfect time to begin taking a serious look at your business, and evaluate just where things would stand if a disaster were to strike.
Here are a few good questions that you could ask yourself:
1) What would happen to my operations if a disaster were to strike my physical location? What types of business data would be lost? How would this impact myself, my customers, and my employees?
2) Have I put significant thought into disaster recovery or continuity planning for my business, should the worst happen?
3) I feel that I really do need to begin planning for disaster recovery for my business, but where do I start?
These are questions that we hear from clients all the time, and the good news is that it’s never too late to begin disaster recovery planning for your business! All of us here at Data Cave are highly experienced in this arena, and we can help guide you through this process of planning for the worst.
If you know that this process is something you need to engage in for your business, the following 2 steps will help to get you started:
1) Begin to take inventory of all the different types of “data” that your business collects and works with on a regular basis. It should include any information on your customers, tax and accounting information, and everything in between. As you are going through this process, ask yourself: “Out of all this data that my company has, which data can I absolutely NOT afford to lose?” We recently wrote a separate blog post about this very topic, that should help you even further.
2) Evaluate your business’ physical location. The goal here is to do an honest assessment of the structure itself, and determine exactly how secure it would be against several disasters such as fire, flooding, or a tornado. This process should help give you a more tangible view of just how your business location would fare should a disaster occur.
Going through these 2 different processes will help inform you on what your business’ most critical data includes, as well as give you knowledge on whether or not your main location is well suited to house that data. Once you know these pieces of information, the decision to move forward with a disaster recovery plan can be made much more easily.
National Preparedness Month serves as a great reminder to begin taking the steps to ensure that your business can survive any type of disaster, and all of us here at Data Cave are here to help you in any way we can, regardless of where you may be in this process. If you would like any further information, or to discuss this further, please leave a comment or Contact Us. We’d love to hear from you!
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Congratulations! You’ve been given the task of researching and finding a data center for your company’s IT equipment. Where do you even start?
Many of the people I talk to feel like Goldilocks. Don’t remember the story? Goldilocks breaks into the Bears’ house and tries different beds, chairs, and porridge. Two of the three were too… something. Hard or soft. Big or small. Hot or cold. She struggled until she found the bed (or chair or porridge) that was just right.
Location makes many IT decision makers feel like Goldilocks. This data center is too close, and my equipment is at risk. This data center is too far, and it will be tough to maintain my equipment. What is the location that is just right?
When making a location decision, ask yourself the following questions. Your answers will help you select an appropriate location and to determine your distance threshold.
- Will the equipment in the data center be focused on production or disaster recovery?
- Does your equipment require heavy management?
If your equipment is for disaster recovery, choose a data center at least 50 miles from your production site. I talk to many CIOs, network administrators, and IT professionals who struggle with this. It’s tough to imagine your babies (your equipment) so far from you and your attentive care, but I urge you not to be what some call a “server hugger.” If you need disaster recovery, it’s best to have geographic redundancy. By nature, disaster recovery is intended to protect you should your first set of equipment were to meet with unforeseen circumstances. If your data center is too close, your equipment will be at risk, and you’ll have defeated the purpose of having a disaster recovery site.
If your equipment is for production, choose a data center that is accessible for regular maintenance and meets your quality standards. For production servers, location is a less important criteria. It is more important to focus on choosing the highest quality data center that meets your needs.
If your equipment requires heavy management, you may believe that a close location is just right. But with options like remote hands and managed service providers, companies can reap the benefits of geographic redundancy for their high maintenance equipment. Using additional support for server maintenance allows your organization flexibility and the option to focus on other high priority items.
Selecting a data center location is not an easy task. Hopefully, after asking yourself these questions, you’ll have selected the geographic location that is just right for your data center.
Still looking for more guidance on how to choose a data center? Check out the following resources, or feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Data Center
- 7 Critical Things to Look for When Touring a Data Center
- Top 10 Tips for Disaster Recovery
- Why Columbus, Indiana is a Great Data Center Location
So, you’ve chosen to outsource your data center. Now what?
It’s time to get priorities in order and decide what is most important when choosing a data center. Here are a few things you might consider.
Having redundancy in place when it comes to power is critical – redundant utility lines, generators, UPS flywheels or batteries to ensure that when the power goes out (and it will), your equipment won’t go down. Power outages have horrifying effects on servers, and you won’t have the time to rebuild your IT infrastructure, not to mention the risk of downtime to your end clients.
This is a crucial component of your data center selection, but most data centers will have access to a large variety of carriers. The pertinent issues deal with the cost of reaching your chosen ISP. Redundancy in this area is also important. Fiber gets cut and carriers go down. What can go wrong, will go wrong. So having redundancy in place to mitigate that risk is very important. Utilizing “blended” bandwidth ensures that when one carrier goes down, you’ll have automatic failover to another.
We’ve given you a sample of things to consider when choosing a data center. To read further on what matters most when making your selection, download our whitepaper on 10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Data Center.
There’s something you might not know about Data Cave. Everything we distribute, from handouts to our website, says that we provide 99.999% uptime. However, that simply isn’t true. In reality, we can boast 100% uptime. This means that our facility has weathered storms and power outages with NO downtime. We began with our first client in early 2010 which amounts to nearly two years of uninterrupted power for our clients.
How are we able to maintain 100% uptime?
Our friends at Data Center Knowledge have a great article about how hard drives are replacing tapes for backup purposes.
This is something we’ve seen, and experienced now for a while. The overall cost of a hard drive based system is on par with, if not cheaper, than a comparable tape system. But factor in “other” costs and it really puts the hard drive system over the edge.
First, one cannot underestimate the human cost. Someone has to rotate the tapes, and replace bad ones in the deck over time. This requires a person to constantly monitor the system, something which over time usually languishes.
Second, it’s hard to know if the tape has gone bad until you need it. While modern tape decks will issue error reports, it’s not always obvious that data was not on a tape until you go to restore from it – and it doesn’t work. And obviously, that’s the time it’s needed most.
Third, you simply never know when a vendor is going to stop supporting your tape hardware – something happening more and more often. With a SAN based system, it’s easier to migrate data between vendors over time. And hard drives are much faster at data transfer than tape based systems.
As the article points out, it’s sometimes even cheaper to buy a direct Gig-E link between your primary facility and your off-site data center and do a backup over-the-wire than use a tape system and rotate tapes offsite manually.
Interested in this approach? We’ve implemented it for multiple customers, and can help implement it for you as well – saving you money each month on your current tape based system. Contact us to learn more.
Is your data center maximally redundant?
Two weeks ago, we load tested the generator. Here is video of that load test.
Earlier this afternoon, we fired up the generator to do a load test.
Stay tuned for video of the test.
The UPS manufacturer was onsite this week to bring the additional UPS capacity online.