Natural disasters raise cloud storage solutions concerns

Typhoons and other natural disasters present a significant threat to the continued functionality of data centers.

Businesses have a wide variety of storage options available to them today, including traditional HDDs​, solid state drives and cloud-based solutions. Often, company leaders will make the mistake of choosing a single method to handle their storage needs, ignoring the advantages offered by alternative. For instance, some organizations opt to exclusively use magnetic-based HDDs to contain every file and record they own, because of the large amount of storage space that can be obtained for a relatively low price. However, these businesses would miss out on the performance benefits offered by SSD drives such as the ability to quickly launch critical applications.

Similarly, some businesses have turned to cloud services as their sole means of data storage. The cloud holds a lot of potential in this arena, promising to eliminate hardware expenses and provide an extra layer of security in the event of an on-site operational emergency. Many companies have moved their critical data to the cloud, believing that these services offer 100 percent uptime and effectively remove any chance for data loss or disruption. However, businesses that choose to go this route with their  data storage needs are essentially placing all of their eggs in one basket. Cloud storage providers rely on the functionality of servers and data centers just as any other business might. When natural disasters strike these facilities, cloud clients could lose access to their vital records and documents.

Typhoon damage raises IT concerns
The typhoon Haiyan that recently befell the Philippines is just the latest example of a severe natural disaster that could have far-reaching and costly repercussions for cloud service providers. CRN noted that the Southeast Asian nation has a rapidly growing data center industry, providing computing, networking and storage needs to a large number of foreign organizations. The destructive force of the typhoon may have wreaked untold damage on facilities across the Philippines, preventing cloud customers from accessing their critical data. IT industry members have expressed concern regarding the long-term impact of this calamitous event and the potential for it to cause major service disruptions.

As noted by InformationWeek contributor Dino Londis, natural disasters are not only a cause for concern due to their destructive force but also because of the lack of warning they typically give before striking.

"If the National Weather Service issued a 'complete devastation' warning today, would your data be ready? You might get only a few hours' warning, and that's if you're lucky," Londis wrote.

Although reports on specific data center outages have yet to be heard in the aftermath of the typhoon, similarly large-scale disasters have devastated critical facilities. For example, Data Center Knowledge stated that Hurricane Sandy caused a great deal of flooding that disrupted data center operations across New York City.

Small-scale events raise fears
Even smaller incidents can have a disastrous effect on the functionality of an important data center, preventing cloud customers from retrieving data stored within the facility's servers. NewAge highlighted the recent example of an electrical fire that ravaged the lone data center providing service to local government agencies in Macomb County, Mich. With their digital capacities hobbled, officials were force to carry out their duties with manual filing processes and paper documents.

While cloud services have their fair share of strengths, they should never be relied on as the exclusive form of data storage. Third-party providers are just as likely to experience a disruptive event, which is why businesses should always have on-site backups in place whenever deploying cloud storage. Data archiving solutions provide a reliable fallback in the event that alternative storage devices are damaged or otherwise taken offline.

DIGISTOR REWIND offers a simple and effective method for small business owners to backup their critical documents and have them ready to restore in case of a disruptive incident. Because this service runs on high-performance Blu-ray media, companies can extend the reach of their archiving efforts as far as they please. Once a disc has reached capacity, another can be inserted to continue the archiving process. In addition, businesses can take advantage of this solution with relatively small investment costs. To achieve the benefits of DIGISTOR's high-performance archiving solution, companies need a reliable Blu-ray burner, Blu-ray recordable discs and the REWIND software. Once these have been required, business leaders can begin backing up their vital documents and files, keeping them close at hand in case of an emergency.

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