Dallas Tornadoes and Disaster Avoidance: This Week in DR Vol. 3

By Zerto, on 5 April, 2012

The damage has not yet been tallied from the multiple tornadoes that touched down in the Dallas area this week. The video below shows a pretty terrifying scene.  Luckily, according to this CNN report, there were no reported deaths.  Data Center Knowledge highlights the potential for damage to businesses in the affected area, “Dallas is a major data center hub, hosting at least 40 facilities for companies offering hosting services, in addition to dozens of corporate data centers.”

Our third TWiDR post centers on the subject of disaster avoidance, or building your infrastructure so that it is always-on, with data always available – even during a disaster.  Time will tell whether or not the DR systems in Dallas data centers held up during the tornado.

Unfortunately, some companies still think of disaster recovery services as, “what we do to get systems up and running after a disaster”.  But as Rachel Dines, Forrester Analyst mentioned on a recent webinar with Zerto, “DR is not an insurance policy.”  The recovery business has changed, and today, BCDR is about making sure that data is always available, before disaster strikes.

One example of the ways companies are thinking about Disaster Avoidance is Woodforest National Bank.  Woodforest has a unique schedule: 24×7 live banking with tellers and personal bankers – data needs to be available 100% of the time! The bank takes an impressive “Disaster Avoidance” approach to customer data. Woodforest migrates its entire datacenter every six months to avoid hurricane season, due to its proximity to the Texas coastline.  Each June, all production applications are pre-emptively “failed-over” to a secondary site, with a return to the primary site by mid- to late-October, avoiding the hurricane season. If a hurricane or tornado strikes the area, all of the systems are already protected.

Another way to insure your data is always-on is to protect it in the cloud. This week, two articles on Cloud DR highlight the trend.  One, from ZDNet entitled ‘Cloud DR Services are Real’, discusses a recently released study on Cloud DR by Forrester Research. According to the report, “Today, cloud-based DR is poised to shake up legacy approaches and offer frustrated infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals a great alternative.”  Another post, from InformationWeek, highlights the main points of the Forrester Research report.  Their take? “Easier, more frequent, and less expensive testing, as well as pay-as-you-go-pricing” are two key factors of Cloud DR that make it worth looking into.

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