Natural disasters like lightning, cyclones, tornadoes, floods, fires, and earthquakes are major threats to any data center. In addition to causing irreparable damage to expensive data center equipment, such a disaster can also cause loss of invaluable customer data and, inevitably, loss of business.
In the data center business, every minute of downtime can be debilitating. Maintaining clients’ access to their data, therefore, becomes essential – even in the time of disaster.
While acknowledging that the threats are real is an important first step, here are a few others to help you get started on protecting your data center from natural disasters:
Assess your risks
If you have never thought about your data center’s safety in terms of protection from the elements of nature before, you will need to begin with a comprehensive risk assessment. What are the potential threats in your region? What will the consequences be, to your data center, in the event of such a disaster? Once you have identified the risks, it will become easier to create a checklist and action plan on what needs to be done during such a disaster.
An efficient data center should have network redundancies incorporated into its computing infrastructure. How reliable will these backup plans be during a disaster? If you backup data in another data center facility, make sure that there is enough distance between both facilities so that the same disaster won’t affect both centers at the same time. For added protection from data loss, consider a cloud backup as well!
Choose the right equipment
When it comes to the physical protection of your data center, start with opting for waterproof and fireproof servers. Install automated backup systems to prevent disruption or loss of data when physical or even remote access to the data center may not be possible. Always make sure your data center is connected to a backup generator that is periodically serviced as power cutoffs can be expected for long periods of time during natural disasters. Ensure the availability of fuel close to the generator. Keep pumping equipment handy so that stormwater can be promptly removed before they accumulate and cause damage.
Make infrastructure changes
Considerations should be made based on your risk assessment. For example, if your data center is prone to flooding, elevating the data center floor will be necessary. If you are in an area prone to hurricanes, tornadoes and such wind-related disasters, then moving your equipment underground or to subterranean facilities may be the best way to protect them. To prevent damage from earthquakes, seismic base isolation must be set up below the server racks to reduce the impact of vibrations.
Adhere to data center standards
Whether you are building a new data center or maintaining an existing one, make sure it follows industry best practices and abides by set requirements and recommendations related to security and other building needs. This itself can go a long way in protecting your center from disasters and ensuring that critical systems are up and running smoothly.
Regularly test and train
Regular testing of all your backup, recovery, power, and redundancy systems is as important as setting them up. Another important activity in your preparation for a disaster must be to provide hands-on training to all your staff on what to do during such situations. Make sure that everyone is familiar with the threats and is aware of the checklists and action plans to undertake.
Stay updated on the weather
Set up a system through which you and your staff can stay informed of weather updates. With adequate advancements in weather forecasting technology, it is possible to stay aware and take precautions prior to the manifestation of a natural disaster.
It has happened before to data centers around the world – and it can happen to yours at any time. Need help in assessing your risks and taking the necessary protective measures? Get in touch with Hardy Racks for a consultation today!