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Data center disaster recovery trends for 2007

Adam Trujillo, Assistant Editor and Matt Stansberry, Site Editor
A series of recent studies have shown that upper management isn't taking data center disaster recovery planning seriously. Data center managers in the trenches need to be able to make the case for disaster recovery investment. These recent findings may help put more priority for DR in your budget.

As disaster recovery budgets are shrinking, more companies are moving toward outsourced disaster recovery services. The articles in this report look at some of the facilities, services and technologies that are changing this service offering.

The business case for disaster recovery and business continuity planning

Somehow, disaster recovery and business continuity planning, isn't on the radar for many organizations. A new study, reported in "

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Disaster recovery shortchanged by business execs," shows business execs aren't making disaster recovery a priority

And this isn't just the CEO's lack of enthusiasm. CIOs are not making time for business continuity planning, according to one article, citing company culture and lack of management support. But the work environment is changing and managers can't afford to be lax about disaster recovery and business continuity plans. As remote access poses security and productivity threats, some data center managers are going to need to make the business case to their CEO's that they need backup plans.

Execs need only to consider some of the more recent high profile data center crashes, like Dow Jones, MySpace.com or Business 2.0 to see how a lack of planning can make headlines in a bad way.

Natural disasters often force organizations to re-examine their recovery infrastructure. For example, the city of Brownsville, Texas, still reeling from Hurricane Emily, called on IBM to design a backup data center and a city-wide WiMax network.

And sometimes the disasters aren't so natural. Consider the case of MSApple, a two-time victim of facility issues. They didn't want another fire or busted water pipe damaging computer systems, so MSApple built its data center in a bunker.

There is help for your disaster recovery project

Collocation or hosted facilities are one form of outsourcing disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Jim Weller is president of the collocation facility, Baltimore Technology Park. In a recent interview, he shares some of the disaster recovery must-do's that will keep the power on in a regional disaster, as well as the some of the advantages of outsourcing your data center.

BTP isn't the only facility vying to host your data center. The environmental conditions and attractive price of geothermal power in Iceland makes the Nordic country an ideal outsourcing option for a backup DR facility.

Hosted facilities aren't the only way IT departments are outsourcing their data center disaster recovery and business continuity projects. For instance, some users are taking advantage of IBM and Cisco's emergency response service. If disaster strikes, they will send a box, SUV or truck with everything you need to reestablish network connectivity and get your operations back up and running.

Other companies, such as the disaster recovery service provider SunGard, are using the latest technology to ensure business continuity. SunGard is using server virtualization to speed disaster recovery with the help of VMware. On the low-tech side, backup tape companies like Iron Mountain are coming under scrutiny for using common shipping services like FedEx and UPS for sensitive backup data: Iron Mountain's transport methods disturb some users.

Fires, hurricanes and other catastrophic events can hit a data center at any time with little or no warning. Having a solid disaster recovery plan can be the difference between having information to restore a business with or starting from scratch. Without a well thought out recovery plan, businesses are gambling with their livelihood that nothing will go wrong.

For more information, check out our Disaster Recovery All-In-One guide.

This was first published in May 2007

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