Data Center Journal

Volume 35 | December 2014

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18 | THE DATA CENTER JOURNAL w hile it may be true that "the best-laid plans of mice and men oen go awry", it can also be guaranteed that the without such plan, disaster is almost certain when dealing with nature's forces. Whether the disaster in question is a fire, earthquake, wind, hurricane, drought, flood or some other natural event, the question is oen not if, but when it will strike. Most people may say or even want to believe they are prepared for disaster; the reality is that a majority of data centers fall short of being prepared for the sim- plest of emergencies, let alone some sort of real disaster. Unless your plan is to wait for a disaster and then let the lawyers and insurance companies handle the rest, you may want to consider some of the funda- mentals of disaster preparedness presented in this article. With the increasing popularity of cloud computing and colocation, it is important to point out that these con- cepts presented in this article not only apply to an one's own enterprise, but also the organizations that are entrusted with outsourced information technology or infrastructure functions. PraCtiCe makes PerfeCt ere are numerous articles float- ing around the industry of the type of documentation required for an emergency action plan. So it assumed that good documentation is understood to be an absolutely necessary component to disaster planning. It is also important to recognize that documentation alone does not equal a well-developed action plan. Specifically, you have to practice executing your plan. In the case of data centers, the phrase "practice makes perfect" could not be any truer. If you are used to running a high availability facility, you already have stan- dard operating procedures (SOP) in place for routine maintenance, and if you are really good, you require dry runs as a part of any change activity. As the data center industry grows, this level of detail for standard operating procedures is becoming more commonplace. However, what is not commonplace is the intentional practice of emergency action plans. On October 16, 2014, those in earth- quake country (aka California) participat- ed in e Great California ShakeOut which allowed an opportunity for businesses to practice their emergency action plans. Of the registered businesses, oddly there was a strange absence of data center operators on the list. Coincidence? Maybe. Nonethe- less, the data center industry lacks the practice of emergency action plans that properly prepares data center staff to deal with real life disasters. Contracts do not ensure uptime! As an example, an operator of a data center seeking longer generator runtime came to a great emergency action plan as it relates to necessary fuel for extended generator operation. A contract between a nearby gas station and the data center operator was put in place giving the data center operator full right of first refusal to the gas stations diesel in the event of a disaster re- sulting in the need for additional fuel. e contracts were put together by legal profes- sionals so the contractual details were all in place and were valid. But, contracts may lead to a false sense of security. An audit and subsequent emergency preparedness Emergency Action Plans: Be Prepared or Prepare for Disaster By Jun yanG, Pe, leeD aP anD imran hoQue, Pe, leeD aP

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