Preparing for Hurricane Florence gives valuable insights into regional disaster-recovery planning for the hypercloud.

Frank J. Ohlhorst, IT Consultant, Editor-at-Large

September 12, 2018

3 Min Read
Disaster Recovery

People often forget that hypercloud data centers have physical locations which can be impacted by regional events. Take, for example, the recent news about Hurricane Florence, which is bound to have a disastrous impact on the East Coast of the U.S., where numerous hypercloud data centers are located, with some directly the path of the hurricane.

Residents of the coastal areas of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia are preparing for the worst and in some cases evacuating their businesses and homes. The seriousness of the situation might not bode well for hypercloud providers, such as GCP (Google Cloud Platform), Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), all of which have data centers in the potentially affected areas:

The threat extends beyond the hypercloud players and potentially impacts other major cloud players, such as Apple, Facebook, and IBM, all of which have data centers in the region. But the question remains, what exactly does a major storm like this mean for the purveyors of hypercloud services? That’s a question that might not be answered easily.

Some comfort can be found in the fact that, for the most part, data centers are located far inland, protecting them from damaging events such as storm surges. What’s more, data centers are designed to withstand fierce weather and incorporate technologies such as backup power generation, redundant systems and onsite staff ready to deal with emergencies.

Arguably, the most important protective technology employed by hypercloud vendors is one of replication, where data and services are replicated at geographically dispersed sites, protecting customer information and preventing catastrophic data loss. That said, there’s still the question of availability — if one of those data centers fails, will customers still be able to access services? The simple answer is “yes,” while a less simple answer is “maybe.”

For the most part, hypercloud providers have some type of cross-regional support or replication to other zones; for example, Azure is rolling out the concept of Availability Zones, which is a high availability option offered to customers, designed to protect from data-center failures. Loads are shifted to functional data centers to mitigate any failures, providing business continuity; however, one must sign up and pay for that service. Most of the cloud players offer something akin to Azure’s Availability Zones but do require setup and additional costs.

Dave Bermingham, senior technical evangelist, SIOS Technology Corp., offers some sage advice for those looking to minimize disruption.


Dave Bermingham

Dave Bermingham

“Consider implementing cross-region, cross-cloud or hybrid-cloud models with software-based cluster solutions, which will go a long way to address HA/DR (high availability/disaster recovery) concerns,” he said.

In other words, don’t leave HA/DR decisions to the cloud service providers; those using such services should be proactive about HA/DR and plan ahead and select solutions that will not only preserve their data and applications, but also allow operations to continue, even under the worst regional circumstances.

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About the Author(s)

Frank J. Ohlhorst

IT Consultant, Editor-at-Large

Frank J. Ohlhorst is an award-winning technology journalist and technology analyst, with extensive experience as an IT business consultant, editor, author, presenter and blogger. He frequently advises and mentors technology startups and established technology ventures, helping them to create channel programs, launch products, validate product quality, design support systems, build marketing materials, as well as create case studies and white papers.

Mr. Ohlhorst also has extensive experience assisting businesses looking to launch analytics projects, such as big data, business intelligence and resource management. He also has taken on contract roles as a temporary CIO, CTO and data scientist for startups and new ventures. Mr. Ohlhorst also provides forensic services for data security and assist with compliance audits, as well as researching the implications of compliance on a given business model.

Mr. Ohlhorst also has held the roles of CRN Test Center director, eWeek’s executive editor, technology editor for Channel Insider, and is also a frequent contributor to leading B2B publications.

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