Hurricane season officially begins on June 1, and The Weather Channel is already reporting that we can expect a total of 13 named storms and seven hurricanes, with two of them categorized as major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger). That’s not all. FEMA has recently revised their flood mapping, putting businesses and data centers previously located within safe zones in danger. With FEMA also revealing that about half of small businesses never reopen following disaster, many are finding themselves concerned about the safety of their data, whether it’s housed on-premise or in the cloud.
The good news is that with over a month to go before hurricane season begins, businesses, government organizations, and healthcare agencies have time to migrate their workloads and applications to a data center located outside of flood zones that offers various forms of data protection and recovery. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a data center.
Data Center Physical Protection
Data centers should be located in a CAT 3-5 hurricane-rated structure, outside of flood zones (look for those at least 150 feet above sea level) and wind-blown debris zones. Geo-diverse locations are also important. This means that if disaster strikes, the data center can temporarily re-route workloads to an alternate location, keeping data safe and accessible to clients.
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
If electrical power fails during a hurricane, a UPS device with surge suppression provides battery backup to keep things running. Oftentimes, the UPS only runs for a limited amount of time before switching over to an electrical generator to save battery power.
Redundant N+1 Generators
It’s not enough to just have a generator (N), as that only accounts for when the facility is operating at full capacity with no redundancy; if there is any sort of failure, critical applications will falter. N+1 indicates the data center has added an additional component to support a single failure.
Data Center Virtual Protection
Low Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
In the event of a disaster, how quickly can a cloud provider restore business? This is determined by the RTO (how much time can pass during a disaster before it affects a client’s business continuity plan) and the RPO (the amount of time in which a business function must be restored to avoid negative consequences or business continuity breaks). Companies should strive to find a data center with aggressive RTO and RPO. The closer they are to zero, the faster they are to restore business.
Continuous Data Protection (CDP)
Backing up data involves taking “snapshots” of data at a specific moment in time. While valuable for compliance purposes, backups generally do not offer business continuity in the event of a hurricane or other disaster. That’s because many data centers only perform periodic backups, so even when data is restored, it may be from a seven-day-old snapshot, meaning a lot of valuable data has been lost forever. CDP, on the other hand, involves synchronous or near-synchronous replication of data, so business continuity can be maintained even if a hurricane hits. In addition, continuous data protection has very granular recovery points, so companies can choose which point in time to recover to, in case the most recent data is corrupted.
High Levels of Uptime
You’ve likely seen cloud providers boast about their uptime, which is measured in nines. 99% uptime, or “two nines” in industry terms, means over three days worth of downtime per year can be expected. However, add a nine to make it 99.99%, or “four nines,” and you’re only looking at about 50 minutes of downtime per year.
DSM: Florida’s Preferred Cloud Provider
If the upcoming hurricane season or the new FEMA flood zones have you concerned about your on-premise data, or your data center’s capabilities, consider DSM. Positioned high and dry in the middle of the state with geo-diverse locations, DSM features UPS, redundant N+1 generators, low RTO and RPO, CDP and 99.99+% uptime. Plus, if you’re already using on-premise data management software such as Veeam, Zerto, or Commvault, you can still get physical and virtual backups offsite through DSM—without the cost or complexity of building and maintaining offsite infrastructure. If you’re located in the Sunshine State and preparing for the storms ahead, contact the experts at DSM today.