By Sean Handley, Director of Business Sales at BendBroadband
Even after 15 years in the data center business, I’m still amazed how few companies have solid disaster recovery plans after multiple natural disasters along the Eastern Sea Board. Two highly publicized data center outages last month have me thinking about how even the best and most experienced IT managers can be caught off guard: a faulty data center fire suppression system shut down an Oregon school district and a simple switch failure in a Utah data center knocked out four major hosting providers.
On August 30, an alarm in the Beaverton School District’s Oregon data center triggered a fire suppression system that blasted servers and hard drives with foam, rendering them inoperable. When teachers and staff arrived at school, all systems were down.
“It knocked all of the systems in the data center off line. All of the systems that staff need to do their jobs,” said Steve Langford, chief technology officer to the Oregonian on September 3. The district IT staff had to work feverishly over the weekend to partially restore services for the district. The outage affected more than 30 schools in the Portland area.
Earlier in August, two network switches failed in a data center outside Provo, Utah. The outage brought down four major web hosting companies: BlueHost, HostGator, HostMonster and JustHost. Millions of customers experienced service interruptions and the companies lost millions of dollars worth of business.
According to Datacenter Knowledge, all four companies are part of the larger Endurance International Group (EIG), a conglomerate of hosting companies. To save money, space and energy, EIG puts multiple hosting companies in a single data center. The result is cheaper hosting for all, but it also means the companies are more vulnerable to outages.
A good disaster recovery plan is a critical component to business continuity. Today most IT managers are doing some sort off-site backup of critical data (and if you’re not, get started today!). But as these recent outages prove, duplicating critical IT systems in an off-site data center or in a private, public or hybrid virtual environment is key to business continuity. There are many vendors that can help lead your company on the DR journey, and help you understand critical infrastructure, return time and return point objectives.
Many of the clients I work with as sales director for the Vault have been on the DR assessment journey and have selected our data center as a target site because of its safe and geographically stable infrastructure, Tier III reliability, security features and the fact we are one of the most sustainable Data Centers on the planet.
Bottom line? The recent outages show us that even the safest and most secure infrastructure plans can fail without redundancy. Start the journey today to understand your business continuity needs and create a failsafe plan to keep things up and running.