Posts Tagged ‘server colocation’

Don’t Become a Data Loss Horror Story. Warning: This Story is Scary!

October 26, 2014 Leave a comment

data loss horror story

data loss imageImagine This:

You wake up in the morning and get ready for work just like any other day. You get yourself together, grab a cup of coffee and head out to work.

It’s pouring rain as you run to the car. As you pull out of the driveway you think to yourself, “Wow what a storm last night”. It started raining yesterday afternoon and hasn’t let up much since.

You get to the office and you’re the first one there of course. You didn’t get to where you are by being a slacker.

You sit down at your desk and you notice a strange, almost creepy silence in the office. It’s normally not this quiet, even in the early morning.

You turn on your computer and it starts up like it always does.

But then you notice a problem. You can’t get to your email.

You try a few other programs like your accounting, inventory and HR programs……nothing.

You’re starting to get a little worried but you’re not the type who panics at the first sign of trouble.

You decide you’ll grab a cup of coffee in the kitchen and then call your IT Director Brad. It’s probably something minor.

As you make your way down the hallway toward the bathroom you hear a subtle squishing sound under your feet. The carpet is soaked. Now you’re getting a little worried.

You realize that obviously some water from the storm has gotten into the office.

As you walk by the room where your IT equipment is stored you notice that creepy silence again.

Afraid of what you’re about to see you slowly open the door to the server room. The door creeks open and what you see and hear is horrifying. Nothing. The room is dark. No blinking lights, no sounds of fans, no signs of life. Your servers are dead.

You use your iPhone flashlight app and discover that there was obviously a leak in the ceiling which has caused a couple of ceiling tiles to become wet and they collapsed under the weight of the water above.

There are small pieces of wet ceiling tile all over the floor along with way too much water for your comfort.

The servers and networking equipment have taken a direct hit from the water and ceiling tiles and obviously the equipment isn’t functioning. Now you realize why you couldn’t get to the programs on your computer. It’s time to call Brad.

You call Brad immediately. Brad answers the phone and you try to calmly explain the situation to him. But you certainly don’t feel calm.

“I’ll be right there” he says with a tinge of nervousness in his voice.

25 excruciating minutes later Brad arrives in an obvious panic. It seems the drive to the office has given him plenty of time to let his imagination run wild.

When he gets to the server room and looks inside his face turns white and it looks like he’s seen a ghost.

Brad gets to work frantically and tells you that he’ll update you as soon as possible on the extent of the damage.

27 minutes (not that you were counting) later Brad comes into your office and says. “It’s not good. Most of our equipment is ruined. Were going to have to get new servers and networking gear and rebuild”.

You remember that you had a meeting with Brad about just this type of incident a few months ago after reading a blog post about disaster recovery.

You breathe a sigh of relief when you remember Brad saying during that meeting that you were all covered. He backs up all the company’s critical data using a tape system and he had hired a storage company to come pick up the tapes every few weeks and store them in a safe, climate controlled facility.

You try to look at the glass as half full. At least the data is backed up and safe. You want to let Brad know that you trust him and things will be fine.

The conversation goes something like this.

You: “Well Brad, it could have been much worse. I’m just glad you had the insight to put a good backup system in place. We’ve got a really big week planned and I don’t want to get behind. Will you be able to get things back up and running in the next couple of hours?”

Brad: “Next of couple hours? Uh….well I’m going to need more time than that.”

You: “How much more?”

Brad: “It’s probably going to take at least a week?”

You: “Did you say at least a week?” You almost choke on your coffee.

Brad: “Yes, at a minimum.”

You: “How is that possible? We have everything backed up.”

Brad: “Well all of the data is backed up and safe but there is a process to getting everything back up and running. Since most of the equipment is destroyed we have to order new servers and networking equipment which could take anywhere from a few days to a week to get here.

Then we have to figure out where were going to set up the new equipment. We obviously can’t put it in the old IT room because it’s going to need to be totally renovated because of the water damage.

Once we decide where we’re going to put everything I’ll have to set it all up, then network and configure everything. I’ll have to re-load all of our programs and then test everything.

Then once that’s finished I’ll retrieve the tapes from the storage company and load all the critical data onto the new servers. After that I’ll run some further tests and we’ll be back up and running.”

You hear everything Brad is saying but you at the same time your mind is in another world.

Was this really happening? It feels like a bad dream, no, more like a total nightmare. How could this happen? Were you really not going to have access to any critical customer data for a minimum of one week?

Your mind is racing. How are we going to explain this to our customers? What about the auditors that are coming in next week? What about the presentation we have to do for our largest customer next week? What about all the invoices that need to be sent out? How is this going to affect cash flow?

Then the full weight hits you. This is going to cost the company money. A whole lot of money.

You start to feel a little lightheaded and sick to your stomach.

How did you get here? The answer is simple. It’s not easy, but simple.

Then you remembered it. Last year when you read the disaster recovery story on the web and called a meeting to ask Brad if you were prepared for this type of incident he told you all critical data was being backed up but he would feel a lot better if the company had a full blown disaster recovery plan.

Two weeks after that initial meeting Brad brought in a couple of guys from an managed services company and the four of you discussed what it means to have a full blow disaster recovery service versus just backing up your data.

It all sounded great. Until they brought a quote back a few days later.

You remember being shocked by the quote. How much per month?

For something that’ll probably never happen? After thinking on it for a few days you let Brad know you thought it was a really good idea but you’d like to put it on the back burner for now.

You’d see how the fourth quarter went and if the numbers looked good you would reconsider.

Then you basically forgot about the whole thing. It’s easy to do. We’re all very busy with our businesses, our families and everything else life throws at us.

You realize that most likely that the cost of the disaster recovery service would have been a pittance compared to the financial hit you’re about to take.

So what is the difference between just backing up data and having a full blown disaster recovery plan? About 1-3 weeks! That’s 1-3 weeks of being without your company’s critical applications or data.

In a similar situation to the one above, if you had a full blown disaster recovery plan and service you would be back up and running in about 15 minutes. There would no real harm to your business.

But you don’t have that plan and service so for you, things are going to be much, much more complicated. After doing a little research on your iPhone you realize that one week is an extremely optimistic time frame.

Now back to reality. The good news is that this didn’t really happen to you.

It may never happen but the question every responsible executive has to ask them-self is, what if it does happen?

There are thousands of business owners and executives throughout the world that could tell you their own data loss horror stories. It happens, it really does. More often than you think.

You may be wondering why you don’t hear about these stories if their happening all the time?

Think of it this way. If it happened to you, would you announce it to the public or try to keep it quiet?

I’m not talking about customer’s financial information being stolen by hackers. Obviously there are times when a business is required by law to notify its customers and the public of a security breach. That’s the way it should be. In this case I’m just speaking of data loss.

Don’t let this happen to you. Protect your organization and yourself by implementing a reasonable disaster recovery program.

There are many different ways of going about disaster recovery and many good companies out there who do it very well. One positive is that the pricing on disaster recovery services have gone down significantly over the last 5 years.

Do your homework, talk to a couple of reputable companies to get an idea of your options. Then pick the one that’s best for your company. You’ll be glad you did.

Then you’re life won’t become a data loss horror story.

If you’re considering implementing or updating your disaster recovery strategy feel free to contact me or fill out the form below for a short chat. I offer a free, no obligation evaluation of your situation. No sales pressure, no games. Just an honest assessment of whether your organization is adequately protected.

Remember to have some fun today!

Ed Worthington.                          443-570-0414

What is Server Colocation?

September 3, 2014 Leave a comment

With so many IT related buzzwords being thrown around on the internet these days it can be hard to get a good understanding of what these terms mean to you and your organization.

One of these terms is “server colocation” or sometimes referred to as just “colocation”.

Server colocation is the practice of moving your organizations servers, storage and networking equipment to a commercial data center where you rent space.

The commercial data center (or colocation facility) provides space, power, cooling, connectivity and physical security for the equipment of multiple firms thereby reducing the cost for each firm.

The power and cooling aspects are provided in a safe and redundant manner using equipment like surge protectors, power distributions units, and generators.

Redundant connectivity is achieved by the data center hosting multiple telecommunication service providers.

From a security standpoint data centers are locked down from the public using features like key card access and bio-metric scanning. Once inside the data center each companies servers are housed inside of a locked “rack” which provides additional security.

So why would you use a colocate your equipment to a commercial data center?

The first reason is that in order to provide the same levels of redundant security, power, cooling and connectivity you would have to build a your own data center potentially costing your organization millions of dollars in up-front capital expenditure.

But the most important reason is PEACE OF MIND. When you colocate your equipment to a legitimate commercial data center you can rest assured that your equipment will be safe in an environmentally controlled environment with many safeguards in place.

This will free up your time and mental hard drive to focus on other important tasks.

By utilizing a commercial data center you get the best of both worlds. All the features we discussed above without spending large amounts of money upfront to build a data center.

I hope this helps.

If your considering server colocation or a move to the cloud please contact me or fill out the form below to get any of your questions answered and a NO OBLIGATION quote.

My company, Expedient Data Centers, owns and operates 9 data centers in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Boston and Indianapolis. We offer server colocation, cloud computing, connectivity, managed backups, disaster recovery as well as a host of other managed services.


Ed Worthington  443-570-0414