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Make sure servers safe in case storm really hits


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POSTED: Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'm sure those of us who fretted about Hurricane Felicia last month were happy to see her fizzle out into a few raindrops. As you might recall, there was more than a little trepidation as she crept toward the Hawaiian Islands.

It was at this time that the phones at our data center started to light up like Christmas trees. Clearly, some business owners were worried about the safety of their data if a hurricane were to demolish their office or warehouse. They understood having their data backed up by a secure, hardened data center might be preferable to their own offices.

It wasn't just tw telecom that got the calls. Other data and co-location centers in town also got queries from concerned business owners who perhaps, having visions of Iniki, understood that business as usual might be problematic in the aftermath of a hurricane. Their challenges would only be compounded if their data was gone.

It's natural that people would want to take last-minute precautions with a storm looming, but common sense dictates that it's always a better idea to plan ahead.

This also begs the question whether it's better to have your servers nearby or tucked away on the mainland.

Here are some reasons to keep your servers in Hawaii:

» When latency, the time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another, is a key issue, you'll want to be in Hawaii.
» If your tech people are “;hands-on”; types and like to have their gear nearby.
» When connectivity costs are an issue, you'll also want your equipment nearby. For example, if you need a private line between your office and your co-location center for backups, it will be more expensive to pay for bandwidth between your office and the mainland.
There are also situations that might dictate a preference for hosting your servers on the mainland:
» Price point. The lower cost of real estate and electricity on the mainland means lower prices for hosting services.
» When latency is critical for your mainland customers (say you have an airline ticketing service), you'll want your server closer to your clientele.
» If faster load times are crucial, you'll also want your servers to have proximity to major Internet hubs such as San Jose, Calif., which means faster load times for customers.
Depending on your needs, it might even make sense to have servers hosted both on the mainland and in Hawaii. The main thing, however, is to protect your assets before a storm or tsunami warning appears.