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May 15, 2013

Disaster preparedness: daddy preparedness

Ansley Kilgore

Disaster preparednessJust over ten months ago, my wife called me from home with eight used pregnancy tests staring at her from the bathroom trash can. Without hesitation, she uttered, “I’m pregnant.” My first words were every man’s first words in that situation upon hearing this unexpected news – “you’re what?” A weird concoction of excitement and fear pulsated within me as one thought continuously raced through my mind – “Oh (expletive). I’m gonna be a father.”

Luckily for my wife and I, parenthood didn’t start overnight. We had nine months to prepare for a drastic change in our lives. But unfortunately, the same does not apply to your business. Unexpected events won’t give you a call to let you know when they’ll arrive. So when disaster strikes –- and it will –- is your data center provider prepared? If your answer begins with “um” then you need to continue reading this blog.

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and more all threaten your data center, which is why it is imperative that your data center provider is prepared to handle any event that threatens disruption to your critical business operations.

Here at Internap, we have created an eBook on the six essential keys to disaster preparedness that you should look for in a data center provider:

These six factors are crucial for any data center provider that wants to be prepared for unexpected emergencies.

Unfortunately for me, Internap has yet to develop an eBook on Daddy Preparedness. If they had, I would have been more prepared for explosive diapers and lack of sleep.

Maybe, just maybe, with enough parental responses to this blog, Internap may one day compose a guide on how to prepare for fatherhood. And with me only being four weeks into it, I need all the guidance I can get.

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Ansley Kilgore

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Mar 14, 2013

Disaster preparedness: recovery vs. prevention

Ansley Kilgore

Data_Center_floor_DSC_5354_680x340Many IT and operations professionals focus on establishing processes and procedures to get systems back up and running after a disruption, but it’s also important to have the right IT Infrastructure in place before disaster strikes. As part of your 2013 IT strategic planning, disaster recovery and prevention capabilities should always be one of the factors you evaluate.

Fortunately, it’s easy to mitigate disruptions when you have the right foundation for your infrastructure. Data centers, colocation services and cloud hosting are designed with business continuity in mind, plus you get the added benefit of improving internet performance. Let’s look at three elements of disaster resistant design and infrastructure that can help you prepare and sometimes prevent disruptions from happening.

Redundant power circuits
Internap colocation facilities help mitigate the likelihood of power outages by providing a second circuit path. Having redundancy options and backup power systems in place can help prevent a disruption before it begins. When evaluating providers, make sure their redundant network devices don’t connect to the same patch panel, Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system, breaker or other infrastructure.

Routing Control
Whether you experience a major outage due to a natural disaster, or are simply having internet performance problems in your local area, our Managed Internet Route Optimizer™ (MIRO) will dynamically seek out the fastest route for optimal internet speed. This results in minimal impact on your business operations, even if your main internet provider goes down.

State-of-the-art fire prevention
Our data centers are equipped with the most advanced fire detection and control technology. We also have strict rules in place to prevent dangerous situations such as power surges from becoming a larger problem.

Don’t overlook the importance of disaster recovery during your 2013 IT strategic planning – put the right preventative measures in place before something unexpected happens. If you’re making decisions on new technologies or services that affect your infrastructure, be sure to evaluate their disaster recovery capabilities. Building the right IT foundation can help you prevent disruptions and avoid lost revenue, waning customer confidence and costly maintenance. The ability to recover your data and maintain business continuity after a disaster is critical to the success of your business.

At Internap, we go to great lengths to mitigate disasters. To learn more about maintaining business continuity, check out our ebook, Data Center Disaster Preparedness: Six Assurances You Should Look for in a Data Center Provider.

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Ansley Kilgore

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Aug 9, 2012

The six keys to disaster preparedness: Mock disaster drills

Ansley Kilgore

The six keys to disaster preparedness: Mock disaster drillsLast week I discussed the importance of choosing a data center services provider with a documented emergency response plan in my list of six keys to disaster preparedness.

Now its time to put that response plan into practice with mock disaster drills. A provider may have seemingly perfect site disaster preparedness plans — on paper! However, only through testing and conducting drills will they truly be prepared for an event. Your provider should test their plans at least twice a year. By conducting simulations of an event, they will be able to verify whether their operations personnel are knowledgeable of their responsibilities and if the infrastructure equipment performs as intended. Look for providers who perform quarterly or similar simulations of equipment failures, power outages and other related critical equipment events that may occur as a result of a disaster. The findings of these mock drills should be documented on an on-going basis, and the training program should be modified as needed to ensure all on-site personnel are well trained in case of an event. In essence, a provider’s disaster preparedness philosophy should be, “If we’re not finding problems when we test our plans and equipment, we’re not testing thoroughly enough!”

Your provider should also be an integral part of your IP network disaster testing. You can run your own network disaster readiness tests, but that, in and of itself, is not enough. As you run tests on your end, ask your provider questions, including:

• What do they see when you fail over?

• Do they have to take corrective action on their side?

• Who should you contact, work with, and escalate to?

Has your provider made any changes to their infrastructure since your last disaster drill that might have changed how your drill needs to be operated?

Service provider networks are fluid — don’t be fooled into thinking that things will stay the same indefinitely. Test regularly to ensure that your service provider’s network hasn’t rendered your disaster preparedness useless!

I’ll end here this week, but stay tuned for the fourth installation in this series — preventative maintenance.

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Ansley Kilgore

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