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Multiple backup plans are necessary to account for unpredictable data center outages

By Max Burkhalter
May 7, 2015

More companies are coming to depend on data centers, either on-site facilities or via the services of third-party providers, to facilitate their daily workflows. Innovative uses of data storage technology are taking off in popularity, but the technology is still far from foolproof. This is especially true for companies with clients that demand highly responsive uptime and recovery - failure to resolve unexpected downtime quickly enough will result in loss of client trust and possibly long-standing damage to the company's brand, highlighting the need to be serious about data center security and storage.

"Attention to detail will help a company recover from surprising instances of downtime."

This problem is exacerbated by the reality that the causes of the most devastating outages are nearly impossible to avoid. That's why it pays off for IT staff to develop multi-step solutions for protecting the facility's key data. This attention to detail will help a company recover from even the most surprising instances of downtime.

Outages are impossible to completely anticipate
It's hard to predict a data center's next cause of downtime because there are so many ways that a facility can get shut off. For instance, medical facilities on the Legacy Health campus near Portland, Oregon, recently experienced a lengthy period of unexpected downtime due to a surprise disturbance in the local power grid. This type of data center disaster can bring down large colocation providers and, subsequently, all of their clients. In some instances, weather phenomenon as simple as a lightning bolt could force companies to invest over $1 million into downtime recovery, according to Data Center Dynamics.

Data Center Knowledge pointed out that even more nonsensical scenarios could lead to brand-threatening instances of extended, unplanned downtime. A large population of squirrels, for instance, could also be a large threat to any nearby data center. The animals are fond of chewing things, including network infrastructure that is necessary to connect one side of the data center to the other. Often data centers depend on Internet connections carried over underwater fiber-optic cables. Unfortunately, these signals can be disrupted in an instant if the crew of a large ship drops anchor too close to the to the cable. These and other wacky instances of downtime may seem ridiculous but are more common than one might initially realize.

A mixed solution approach offers greater resiliency
Approaching the issue of preventing downtime requires solutions from multiple angles, precisely because there are just so many ways a data center can fail. Besides, labeling one solution as "foolproof" and then overinvesting in said solution is a recipe for a complex data center disaster further down the road. A company's IT staff will have better luck taking advantage of a few comprehensive solutions and looking for ways to combine them. After all, resiliency is much easier to achieve with a few reliable fixes in place and a detailed strategy for implementation.

The most secure data centers are those with multiple defenses.The most secure data centers are those with multiple defenses.

For example, TechTarget strongly recommends deploying multiple data restoration strategies as a way to prepare for unexpected data loss. Trusting in a colocation center can reduce costs but also increases the risks of losing that investment (and data) if the colocation allows its facility to suffer into downtime. However, adding a remote console server to the mix and organizing the transmission of data to an independent location may help to save your business if precious information is needed offsite.

Perle's wide range of 1 to 48 port Perle Console Servers provide data center managers and network administrators with secure remote management of any device with a serial console port. Plus, they are the only truly fault tolerant Console Servers on the market with the advanced security functionality needed to easily perform secure remote data center management and out-of-band management of IT assets from anywhere in the world.


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