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Do you have a disaster-preparedness plan?

Hurricane Sandy roared through the East Coast, network admins better have backup plans at the ready.

By Network World Staff, Network World
October 30, 2012 08:04 AM ET

Network World - What Sept. 11, 2001 taught network administrators is that having your backup server on site was not much of a backup if the entire grid went down. So in the past decade big strides have been made to create duplication offsite. With the latest natural disaster in Hurricane Sandy making a path of destruction through the East, the disaster preparedness plan is being put to a test.

Some outages are not caused by natural disasters, but whatever shape the outage comes in, IT directors need to be ready. In this PDF we run through what steps you need to follow and a few examples of outages.

The most recently example of an outage not Mother Nature made was with Amazon. There is naturally that ripple effect when someone as big as Amazon goes down. The problem is that business processes, applications and computing infrastructure are too intertwined and dependent on each other. If the infrastructure isn’t configured just right or is unavailable, the business process stops. The industry has made great strides in abstracting the physical computing infrastructure from the applications it supports. Amazon and VMware have created tremendous value and built businesses by abstracting (or insulating) applications and users from hardware diversity and failures.

However, the industry has only started to abstract the business process from the applications and infrastructure that supports it. To work around an Amazon EC2 outage, organizations really need to utilize more than one provider to avoid a single point of failure. Yet in order for the business to be successful at this there needs to be the ability to reroute and rerun the process in their own data center or an alternative service provider. This is where higher-level process automation comes in.

Process automation that keeps track of the complex interdependencies between applications, infrastructure and business workflows can help identify, or even predict problems. Then in the case of an unavoidable outage, the business workflows would be rerouted to an available data center.

Unpredictability is a fact of life. Whether terrorist attacks, cataclysmic weather or simply a backhoe severing a power cable, enterprises never know when their operations may be threatened. But mitigating the consequences of disasters need not be a matter of worry and guesswork.

To find out more about disaster preparedness, become a Network World Insider by downloading this PDF (free registration is required).

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

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