Prepare Your Data Center to Handle the Storm
It doesn’t take a full-scale hurricane, tornado, or earthquake to bring down your data center. Any storm can knock down power lines and flood roads making it impossible for your staff to get into the office. Storm preparedness for an IT team means finding ways to keep your data center running despite the loss of power and transportation. Fortunately, a few basic precautions can keep you operational whatever the weather.
Replace Power with Generators
Be prepared for the loss of power with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and backup generator.
The UPS will kick in automatically, almost instantaneously, when there’s a break in the power. They are usually powered by batteries and provide only stopgap protection, 5 to 15 minutes, while you work to bring a generator online. A generator, typically running on diesel or natural gas, can provide power for a longer period of time until the power company is able to provide electricity again.
Before investing in a backup generator for your data center, evaluate your power consumption requirements, including floor space and number of racks. This will help you size the generator appropriately. You may need more than one generator running in parallel to provide adequate power. Look for a high horsepower generator that can reach full speed quickly and that offers remote monitoring and control capabilities.
Offer Remote Access Capability
Remote access or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) enables your staff to access company systems even if they can’t make it into the office due to weather conditions. The two technologies are similar, though not identical: VDI lets users work exactly as if they were on their own desktop PC, while remote access lets users run applications on a terminal server. The cloud is another option that supports user access to applications when users are outside the corporate premises.
Whether using cloud, remote access, or VDI, extra security measures should be in place to protect data when accessed from outside the corporate network. A virtual private network (VPN) ensures secure communication. Using 2-factor authentication is also desirable to add another layer of security to access from outside the office.
Consider Maintaining A Secondary Site
Having a backup data center at an alternate location provides another way to keep IT operations up in case of a local power outage or disaster. The secondary site needs to have enough capacity to run the business-critical applications, but doesn’t need to provide development and test environments. You’ll need a good backup and recovery plan to make sure the backup site has the latest version of applications and data before you start processing there.
Maintaining a secondary site is expensive, so consider using the cloud as a lower-cost alternative. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) offerings from cloud providers help automate the process of bring applications online in your backup cloud site and speed the recovery process.
Plan Ahead for the Next Storm
Start thinking now about how your data center will handle bumpy weather. Prescient Solutions can help you prepare for the next storm with solutions including cloud, virtual desktop infrastructure, and robust backup and recovery procedures. Contact us to learn more about what you need to do to protect your data center from any storm.