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Data Center
Educational Article

The Correlation of Data Center Best Practices and Disaster Recovery

By Subzero Engineering CEO, Larry Mainers

There is a correlation between a data center’s attention to industry best practices and its ability to rebound from the disaster

A significant part of my career has been spent responding to, and assisting with data center disaster recovery. I have witnessed some rather spectacular disaster recovery situations, from the Bank of New York adjacent to the fallen World Trade Center towers, to the government offices that were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing and the river that flowed through the Estes Trucking data center in northern Virginia.

Through the years, I have noticed an interesting trend in the ability to recover high tech sites from disaster: there is a correlation between a data center’s attention to industry best practices and its ability to rebound from the disaster. A company that had instituted a cable management strategy had a greater ability to recover from a flood than a company who hadn’t prioritized cable management.   Similarly, the company that employed airflow management prior to an event was more prepared during recovery efforts than those that had no defined cooling strategy.

When disaster strikes a data center, one of the most profound effects on employees is the changed appearance of their site; nothing looks the same. Instead of clean walls, floors and ceilings, the facility is often extremely dirty, with missing tiles and computers covered in disaster residue. I have noticed that such stark changes can initially cause managers to delay key disaster recovery decisions, negatively affecting the recovery effort.

In contrast, those managers who are up to date on industry best practices are better able to react during disaster recovery. Such managers are better attuned to the condition of their data centers, and don’t require extra time to recreate the conditions of the data center prior to the disaster. Adhering to industry best practices reduces the reaction time to a disaster, making the recovery process faster more efficient.

When data center managers stay up to date with important best practices, it will benefit them in being prepared for the unexpected.