Saturday, January 19, 2008

Colocation and Disaster Recovery Facilities

How valuable is your data? Does it mean the world to you? If yes, your worst nightmare is probably loss of all or part of the data. And if just the thought of that makes you cringe, it’s time you educated yourself about the existence of disaster recovery options and how collocating your data can save you a lot of headache and financial loss. There are many reasons you could be faced with a disastrous situation. Especially if you are in the IT sector and/or if most of your data resides in electronic format. If you depend on computers for storing, accessing and using your data, you are potentially at risk. Some of the main reasons you could face a disaster of data loss are: Deformity in the firmware Tampered tape Undesirable formatting of hard disk drive Logical failure Dropping of a storage device Disturbed semiconductor While these examples are mostly hardware related issues, there are also similar problems that could develop due to software problems. So how do you safeguard your data and the business that runs off of it? There are many companies out there who specialize in safeguarding your data at remote locations and in a variety of ways. There are two main ways of safeguarding your data: Data Loss Prevention is perhaps the surest disaster recovery service. This method emphasizes the creation of a back-up system to prevent future data loss. That means your business has minimal downtime and continuous operation of critical business systems. Creating a warm or hot site away from your existing physical setup and colocating your equipment in a data center can ensure that even in the case of a physical disaster, your time taken to get back up and running is minimal. Data centers have all your data stored and can have it ready for use soon after a problem is detected. These are critical especially for small and medium-sized IT set-ups. Roughly, they can be divided into: Cold sites: These are essentially empty areas that allow you to set-up your equipment and start operations again. These sites offer no recovery options, just storage. Warm sites: The main difference between these and cold sites is that they offer basic communication equipment for plug-in connectivity. Some back-up equipment like servers and storage are also available to begin work on restoration. Hot sites: These are the duplicate data centers with all the necessary equipment and connectivity you would need to switch over and go ‘live almost instantaneously after a disaster has occurred. In most cases, this option will serve you the best, although the costs of using this are just as high. Some of the main benefits of using outsourced colocation facilities are: No need for capital investment in realty No need to invest huge sums in a data center facility, you pay only for the resources you use You can remote manage the back-up servers as well Huge bandwidth cost savings Dedicated technical support to take care of your data In a lot of cases, you can procure your own server and send it for set-up at the facility saving costs on procurement of minimal hardware. The most important part of your company’s disaster recovery solution is going to be your disaster recovery plan. Having the process documented and tested is the only way to ensure that in the event of a disaster you will be sure to be back up and running with minimal downtime. John Tourloukis is the founder of Fast PC Networks, we provide Colocation and Disaster Recovery Services

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