Few things in recent history point to the need for a comprehensive disaster recovery plan for data centers than Hurricane Sandy. When disaster struck many data centers were unprepared and ill-equipped which led to significant downtime that ultimately cost millions of dollars. Data centers can only operate for so long under the false sense of security and protection before a disaster strikes and the sudden panic sets in. A detailed disaster recovery plan must be in place, complete with multiple contingencies, before a disaster ever strikes so that, should it happen, immediate action can be taken.
To begin formulating a disaster recovery plan you must first identify all of your critical systems. Once you have identified them, you can properly determine how to best protect them in the event of a disaster. To properly prepare a detailed inventory of infrastructure, along with a comprehensive understanding of it must be routinely kept. When DCIM is lagging and knowledge of infrastructure lacking or out of date a disaster will become a major problem for data centers. Along with a detailed knowledge, a thorough backup must be in place as well. Redundancy in a data center not only protects against lost data on a day to day basis but in the event of a disaster as well. Additionally, by taking advantage of the cloud data centers can virtually protect information which is safe from disaster and a useful tool for data recovery. Ready, a national public service campaign that is “designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters,” describes what the critical elements of a disaster recovery plan are for any data center, ” Information technology systems require hardware, software, data and connectivity. Without one component of the “system,” the system may not run. Therefore, recovery strategies should be developed to anticipate the loss of one or more of the following system components:
- Computer room environment (secure computer room with climate control, conditioned and backup power supply, etc.)
- Hardware (networks, servers, desktop and laptop computers, wireless devices and peripherals)
- Connectivity to a service provider (fiber, cable, wireless, etc.)
- Software applications (electronic data interchange, electronic mail, enterprise resource management, office productivity, etc.)
- Data and restoration
Once you have identified critical system components and how to best protect them, a comprehensive DR (disaster recovery) Plan should be formally written up and kept safe. All pertinent personnel should also be trained and prepared for how to act should a disaster occur. By doing so, you will be able to best protect your data center and clients if a disaster occurs and maximize uptime.