Is Your Data Center Ready for a Natural Disaster?

Agility of a business is increasingly dependent on agility of IT. Mission critical is no longer limited to medical records and financial transactions.  A few hours of downtime for your CRM system could mean missing your quarterly numbers or a landmark deal.  Downtime for your website could shake the confidence of investors. No wonder data centers have grown to be one of the most important assets for an organization. All this means tighter SLAs and greater expectations to meet and of course with the same budget and resources.

An important step in building a case for data protection investments is to map out the different planned and unplanned causes of downtime so that you can identify where the biggest gaps are in your infrastructure. Here is one example where the frequency and severity of the downtime cause is mapped out. Today I would like to talk about three stories from the top left corner where the frequency of the events are low but the impact is huge.

downtime bubble chart

Business continuity amidst Alberta’s worst floods
The summer of 2013 saw the worst flooding in recorded history in Alberta, Canada. At $1.7 billion in damages the flooding is Canada’s costliest natural disaster. As the flood water rose, the IT personnel at one of Canada’s premier law firms were forced to abandon their datacenter. However, before they evacuated they were able to instantaneously migrate their mission critical workloads to their remote data center and their business continued to operate without disruption.

5ms failover means CIO doesn’t get a midnight phone call
For an investment firm in Singapore business happens at lightning speed. A power outage knocking out a data center can be devastating to the customer experience. Nevertheless last year a power outage did happen in the middle of the night. The next day the CIO saw an email at the breakfast table about the outage. The good news is the company’s mission critical applications kept humming on at the other end of the town.

Array reboots but not the application
Reboots happen. But when your storage array reboots unexpectedly it can mean major headaches. When a storage architect at a major hospital in the northeastern United States noticed that an array rebooted for no apparent reason there may have been a touch of panic. Why didn’t the DBAs make any noise about the outage? As it turns out they were prepared to provide data access from a different storage array during the outage.

How Did These Companies Avoid Complete Disaster?
The one thing each of these companies had in common was their solution. They implemented an application solution whose continuity was as effective as an uninterrupted power supply is for power continuity. That solution is EMC’s VPLEX. VPLEX Metro offers what I like to call “I didn’t even know there was an outage” level of availability by stretching active to active virtualized storage across two data centers. It is this level of business continuity that thousands of data centers across the world trust VPLEX for their mission critical infrastructure and the total number of run hours recently hit a whopping 100 million. More than ten thousand years of saving the day! Learn more about VPLEX by visiting the web page on

About the Author: Parasar Kodati