Data Centers Must Prep For Upcoming Hurricane Season
Written By Ed Silverstein, Contributing Editor - IT TMCNet.comm
With an average hurricane season predicted for the southeastern United States this year, businesses and other organizations need to take steps now to ensure they are prepared for potential damage to computer systems.
Emergency officials said the hurricane season starts on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30. National Hurricane Preparedness Week will be held May 23 through May 29.
According to the National Hurricane Center, each year an average of 11 tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. About six of these storms become hurricanes annually. Each storm has the potential for causing significant to devastating damage. There are special risks to computer networks and systems. AT&T suggests:
Protecting hardware/software/data records/employee records, etc.
Routinely back up files to an off-site location.
Use a generator for supplying backup power to vital computer hardware and other mission-critical equipment.
Prearrange the replacement of damaged hardware with vendors to ensure quick business recovery.
Assemble a crisis-management team and coordinate efforts with neighboring businesses and building management. Disasters affecting suppliers also affect your business.
Technologies that help IT managers ensure business continuity by alerting them to conditions that threaten network servers and other objects are critical.
For example, temperature monitoring within the enterprise, specifically in the data center, computer rooms and other facilities is an important part of disaster preparedness and disaster recovery. For those IT managers who make this a priority in their environments, they are much better prepared to handle and recover from a disaster if one should arise.
When a company monitors temperature, smoke, humidity, power and airflow, financial loss is minimized in the face of a disaster. It will also reduce the time required to restore operations, which are key to the continuity of the business.
AT&T is also preparing for the hurricane season – working with its Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) team.
"AT&T continues to make significant investments in its NDR program in order to help ensure quick recovery of vital communications services for our customers in the wake of a natural or man-made disaster, such as a hurricane," said Mark Francis, Vice President - Global Network Operations Center, AT&T.
Capabilities include more than 300 technology and equipment trailers and several specialized warehouses. It also has enhanced network redundancy in hurricane-prone areas, which includes the installation of more back-up and permanent generators at critical cell sites and switching facilities, relocation of critical equipment to less vulnerable areas, upgrade of electronics in many locations, replacement of copper wiring with fiber optic cable, elevation of switches critical to network operations above expected flood levels, and protection of facilities against flooding.
When it comes to hurricanes, wind speeds do not tell the whole story. Hurricanes produce storm surges, tornadoes, and often the most deadly of all - inland flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Just to see how flooding can impact an area, recent flooding has severely damaged parts of Tennessee. To help enable those responding to the disaster, AT&T Tennessee responded with phone bank trucks, sophisticated communications vehicles, sent to the two disaster assistance centers already established in Nashville.