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Catastrophe Planning in Project Management

written by: Mike Sweeney • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 5/23/2011

Do you have a business continuity plan in place? How will you complete a project should an unplanned disruption hit your business? Recent enhancements in cloud technologies and data centers have driven costs down to the point that most businesses can create a workable recovery plan.

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    Why You Need a Plan

    Servers 

    Disaster recovery planning trends are on the upswing due primarily to costs becoming more affordable for companies to put legitimate strategies in place. Over the last few years, technology enhancements in computer hardware and software have made it much easier for companies to backup and if necessary, recover data from a co-location data center site.

    For project managers, your recovery plan must be part of the project planning phase to ensure you have access to data, a safe storage place, and any internal resource applications you need to complete the project.

    Cloud technologies, virtualization, and fiber optic technologies have also changed the way information is managed and processed by most organizations. Should a disaster strike, due to weather, power outages, or other unforeseen circumstances, companies now have easy access to their primary and back-up data though these technologies.

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    Data Centers

    Off-site data centers are becoming much more commonplace in most regions of the country. Instead of relying just on in-house locations, or even off-site locations that are managed by employees, many companies are relying on outside companies who lease space within a larger data center to handle all their data and information needs.

    These companies can manage, host, and back-up for clients on a contractual basis. What makes these types of facilities so enticing is they can virtually guarantee 100 percent uptime or close to it. The costs to get involved are considerably less than building your own center and fits in company budgets as operating expenses versus capital expenditures. Operating expenses are easier for many companies to manage and don't require the cash outlay.

    From a project recovery perspective, storing back-up data is a critical piece in the plan. When a disaster strikes, having access to this information is a key part of the rebuilding process. Generally, a business will have its back-up location in a data center that is reasonably distant from the primary data center. It needs to be far enough away so that the same disaster doesn’t affect both data center locations. How far depends on the company’s size, budget and need for the information. Some like the data center to be a reasonable driving distance in case they need to get to the location within a short time-frame. Others feel more comfortable with it located a much greater distance away.

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    Fiber Optics

    Data center servers 

    Fiber optic connections have been a key item in disaster recovery planning trends for the last few years. Bandwidth and transmission speeds are primary issues for businesses. With the amount of data that is typically stored off-site for back-up purposes, usually a mirror image of data stored in a primary location, the amount of data traffic that can be handled, along with costs, is a major concern in planning for recovery.

    With the common use of fiber optic connections between data centers and businesses, along with the rapid improvements in switching equipment, many companies planning for disaster recovery can now benefit from the available technology. Without the speed, low latency and bandwidth capabilities of fiber optics, it would be difficult and very costly for many businesses to move large amounts of data over the public Internet into back-up and primary locations.

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    Cloud Technologies

    Using Internet-based data centers that are conveniently called the “cloud," companies are able to off-load their data to businesses who specialize in having the latest storage capabilities for recovery purposes. All back-up is handled by these companies, and when the time comes for the information to be retrieved, it can be easily accessed by the business or the cloud vendor.

    Cloud technologies have opened the door for most any organization to have a plan in place without the capital expenditures associated with equipment and software purchases. These Internet-based data centers have dramatically changed the basic cost structure for organizations. Routine capital expenditures such as servers, storage devices and hard drives are no longer needed. These become monthly operational expenses that can easily fluctuate as needs change.

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    Sources

    http://searchdisasterrecovery.techtarget.com/news/1524540/Hot-IT-disaster-recovery-trends-for-2011

    Image credits:

    twobee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net