It’s fall in Colorado. The trick-or-treaters have come and gone and the leaves have largely fallen. That means it’s time to put away backpacking gear. When looking through the stuff accumulated over the years, it’s clear that each piece serves a purpose to ensure a safe, enjoyable trip.
Because telecom and helping our customers is always rattling around in my head, I was struck by the parallel of planning for backpacking trips, and designing a robust Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BCDR) strategy. The keys are to plan for the unexpected and to always have a backup plan.
Before embarking on a pack trip, I always let someone know where I am going and when I’ll be back. I pack for hot, dry, wet, and cold weather, as that can always change at the drop of a hat. I ration extra food and mark where nearby water is, should I get stranded due to injury or bad weather. Finally, I bring a compass, maps and GPS (since it’s the 21st Century), to ensure no one gets lost.
The same thought should go into planning your network and datacenter strategy; you need to ensure that your company’s operations are not impacted by the unexpected. Not only does weather impact backpacking, it also affects power to datacenters, fiber cuts, flooding in equipment rooms, etc. and these can cripple a company’s operations and can result in critical data being lost. This is why a BCDR plan is essential.
The backup plan can be managed by your company, or a service provider can ensure that a plan is in place that identifies potential single points of failure. A good starting point is ensuring that key data and applications are stored at more than one datacenter, that those datacenters are geographically diverse and hopefully in moderate climates with few natural disasters. You will also want to work with a datacenter provider that has a robust power backup strategy to ensure that your applications and data are accessible even during a power outage. Consider these key questions:
- “Does your provider have multiple generators at the facility to address a public utility outage?”
- “Does your provider have contracts with local fuel providers to augment facility storage and ensure generator up-time?”
- “Does your provider have battery-backup to carry facility load and cover generator spin up time?”
Level 3 has a holistic power backup mitigation plan to ensure a facility can stay powered for days.
From a network standpoint, you need to connect your offices to the data centers where your applications run and critical data is stored. The key to a successful network strategy is to eliminate single points of failure, and those can occur in many different places. Insisting on diversity for fiber entrance into the building, metro and intercity fiber, and equipment can improve your BCDR strategy success, keep your employees productive, and protect your company from the many threats to operations and connectivity. If you aren’t sure how truly diverse your current solution is, reach out to Level 3. We have a team that works magic and is focused on designing a solution and sharing that solution with you in detail so you can sleep better at night and you’ll come back from that trip into the forest, back-country or mountain range safe and sound.