Data Center   Disaster Recovery   Latest 0 comments on Is Your Data Center Ready this Hurricane Season?

Is Your Data Center Ready this Hurricane Season?

June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season for regions on the Atlantic Ocean. And not to be an alarmist, but meteorologists are predicting 2022 to be a busier than normal hurricane season.

While human safety is the most important issue, data protection is critical. After all, functioning data systems help keep people safe and assist them in returning to normal life after weather events.

Now is the time to be considering data protection, specifically a data center, in preparation for hurricane season.

Use the questions below to guide your search for a data center or to evaluate the readiness of your current one.

How strong is the data center?  

This is an obvious consideration. More questions are listed below to determine the building’s strength and its likelihood for being affected directly by a hurricane or its aftermath.

-Is the data center located in a flood zone? And the best scenario – It’s located outside of a 500-year floodplain.

-Has the data center always been accessible by vehicles in previous weather events?

-Is it deemed “storm-hardened”?

-Is the roof wind rated? If so, what is the rating?

-Are the windows covered with a blast guard window film?

After all, if the building is no longer standing or not accessible by vehicle after a weather event, it’s failed to serve its purpose – to keep business moving forward, even in tough conditions.

What about continued service for the data center during storms?  

Colocation services allow companies to store their private servers and equipment in an off-site location for a monthly fee. This solution is cost-effective for businesses, as on-premise data centers are expensive to build, staff and maintain, and they provide no distance from a weather event affecting the parent company.

But, clients like you want to know that your colocation services at a data center will continue even with a hurricane bearing down on the Texas coast.

Here are some questions to ask to ensure likely service.

-What is the data center’s uptime service level agreement (SLA)? Word of caution, many centers offer 100% uptime. However, in the fine print, you’ll often find that they’re reliant on insurance policies to offset any failings. You want a data center that provides 100% uptime due to its infrastructure, not its willingness to pay you if something fails.

-Does the data center offer redundancy and concurrency for power, connectivity, and cooling? In layman’s terms, does the data center utilize multiple components and pathways so failures in equipment don’t derail data protection?

-Is blended internet used?

-Are backup generators ready and on-premise?

-Does the data center ensure full power for at least 24 hours for the whole facility?

-Is there access to backup fuel? Is it on standby or on-premise?

-Is the data center’s cooling system dependent on cooling towers linked to public utilities? Best case scenario – Its cooling system is not reliant on public works.

-Does your data center use standby equipment in a lead or lag rotation? This routine ensures backup equipment is operable when needed.

Is a human available onsite to assist my team during a storm?

You’ll want to hear a “Yes” to this question. Below are others to ask to further confirm human assistance during a crisis.

-Does your data center staff employees on-site24/7?

-What is the process for seeking assistance? Is a support ticket required? If so, who addresses the ticket? During a crisis, does this process for assistance look different? If so, how is it different during an emergency? 

-Does the data center personnel routinely check lights and cables, rack equipment delivered to the center, and replace faulty or old hardware?

-Does the data center team prepare the area for my group’s arrival during an emergency event? Set up office space? Provide food and drink?

Is there office space for us at the data center or nearby? 

For business to continue as usual during a horrific weather event, workers must have a viable space to work – a place with power and access to the company’s data.  

The questions below will help ensure a business continuity plan for your team.

-How far is the data center or the affiliated office space from the company’s home base? Ideally, the drive should only be a few hours, and the “office space” should be located on major roads with food and lodging options.

-If the workspace is not adjoining the data center, how resilient is that office building? (Many of the questions in the first two sections of this article are relevant here.)

-Does the contract with the data center include assistance with setting up workspace during a time of crisis?  

What about entrance into the data center during an emergency?

You want to know, in advance of a crisis, how your team can physically access equipment inside the data center. Ask the questions below to learn more about a data center’s security plan.  

-Can the data center grant entrance using biometrics or an access card? Preferably, you want multi-factor authorization as well.

-Does the data center maintain an up-to-date list of approved employees who can access equipment there?

-Are data center personnel trained for how to grant access (or remove it) during a crisis?

-Are security guards employed by the data center 24/7?

Has the data center “withstood the test of time”…and storms?  

Yes, we know new data centers are popping up every day. And many of them are great options. But, you’re not wrong to ask about any storms a data center has already weathered.

-When was this data center built?

-What storms has this data center already weathered? How did it fair during the storm(s)?

-Will you share some references/companies who rode out the storm with your data center?

-Can you quickly boost bandwidth, etc. and then do the paperwork? Basically, you want to know how much red tape is in the way of protecting your data in an emergency situation and for business to continue on.

FIBERTOWN Has Answers to Your Data Center Questions

We wrote this article to help you prepare for hurricane season. Plus, we’re confident in our answers to the questions above. Hurricane season, middle of the winter, or on a sunny Tuesday in the middle of October – we’re ready to answer them.

If you’re looking for a data center or unhappy with your current contract with a data center, we should talk. With hurricane season beginning soon, now is the time.

 

NOTE:

This article is an addition to one we published in July 2020. Read our original article 7 Key Questions to Ensure Your Data Center is Hurricane Resistant for more insight into protecting your data and, ultimately, your business during hurricane season.

Data Center   Megaport 0 comments on FIBERTOWN Keeps You Connected with Blended Internet, Cross Connects and Megaport

FIBERTOWN Keeps You Connected with Blended Internet, Cross Connects and Megaport

Do you remember the cell phone commercials from the early 2000s, “Can you hear me now?” The actor traversed insane environments (high snowdrifts, torrential rain, skyscrapers, etc.) while talking on the phone, and every time, he stayed connected. He never lost phone signal.

The premise of the commercials was simple – If you’re our customer, your calls won’t drop. We keep you connected.

At FIBERTOWN data centers, we keep you connected too. And similar to those old commercials, we do so during insane events – hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, and more.

In this article, we’re sharing three ways we make sure you never lose network connection and always have access to your data…fast.

Blended Internet – What is it? Why is it important?

Blended internet is like the phrase suggests. It blends, combines, and brings together multiple internet providers into a single service for the data center customer. As a FIBERTOWN client, you don’t have access only to AT&T, for example, but to AT&T, Cogent, Comcast, Lumen, and more. See here for a list of our internet providers.

Blended internet is an important option for several reasons. First, it’s more time effective and easier for the data center customer. We at FIBERTOWN manage the connectivity for you and provide one invoice for the billing cycle (i.e., you don’t receive bills from multiple providers). You have a single point of contact when you need help, saving you time and frustration.

Second, FIBERTOWN’s blended internet offers Smart Routing. FIBERTOWN’s Smart Routing factors, in real-time, latency, transit costs, jitter, and more to send your data the smartest (i.e., the most efficient) route. Blended internet typically moves traffic the shortest path so your data gets to its destination the fastest.

Third, blended internet offers you more reliability. Our data center already provides you with redundant power and cooling. But why stop there? Blended internet completes the redundancy trifecta, so you stay up while others are down. With multiple network providers at your service, failover is already configured. This also means you no longer need to buy a backup internet circuit.

In summary, due to our strong partnerships with internet service providers (ISPs), FIBERTOWN offers blended internet that gives you peace of mind. Failover configurations, redundancy, and faster routing are just some of the advantages.

Cross Connects – What are they? How are they useful?

Do you remember in the early days when we actually plugged into the internet? We used an Ethernet cord to attach our device to the phone line in the wall where the internet lived. For the time we were plugged in, we had internet, 56Kbps internet, and it was glorious.

Cross connects in a data center are like the early days of the internet (but more sophisticated, obviously). Cross connects use cables like Ethernet or Fiber Optic to connect one unit to another unit in a data center. You may see it described as a “point to point connection.” A common example is when trading companies utilize cross-connects between servers in a data center to ensure trades are made quickly.

Cross connects are beneficial for a variety of reasons. Two of the most apparent are reliability and fast traffic. With a hardwired connection, the only variables are the connection points. Cross connects are not subject to wireless traffic congestion, which reduces latency and improves data security.

Megaport – What is it? Why is it important?

Megaport is similar to what the word implies – a port that offers big capabilities. Megaport, through a single gateway, gives customers access to cloud services like AWS, Office 365, Oracle, Google, and many more. Essentially, Megaport does the complex tasks like housing ports worldwide and performing maintenance, while you enter the global cloud simply through a single port.

At FIBERTOWN, we’re proud Megaport providers. Through our partnership, we offer your business cloud connectivity that is fast, agile, and scalable. You are able to contract it through us to avoid more contracts and invoices. Let Fibertown be your pass-through and enjoy the same service for the same price without having to read and sign more legal documents!

Advantages to Megaport include a fast spin up, reduced latency, more secure data, and cost-effectiveness. (You pay for your port on your FIBERTOWN billing cycle, meaning you do not sign a contract with Megaport.)

FIBERTOWN customers enjoy redundancy and reliability for cloud services without the hassle of cloud maintenance and complicated billing. Megaport makes cloud connectivity easy. We and our customers like that.

Why Choose FIBERTOWN

“Can you hear me now?” was a popular phrase in the early 2000s because of the phone commercial. And the premise is still an important one for businesses. Without connectivity, customers are not served because data is compromised or is moving so slowly that it’s not useful.

FIBERTOWN data centers in Houston, Texas, and Bryan/College Station, Texas provide customers with reliable connections. Through blended internet, cross-connects, and Megaport, we keep you connected and business moving forward.

To learn more information about these offerings and how they’re beneficial for your business, contact us.

Data Center   Disaster Recovery   Latest 0 comments on Do you have dedicated disaster recovery office space?

Do you have dedicated disaster recovery office space?

A critical component of any business continuity plan is a convenient, reliable and secure contingency work site.

In the event of a disaster, relocating people and operations is crucial to getting a business back up and running as soon as possible.

Does that sound like you?

The last thing you want is to be caught in a bad weather disaster and not have a plan in place.

Here are a few top benefits to look for when searching for disaster recovery office space.

A secure site

Are you located in an area prone to hurricanes, tornados or other severe weather?

Look for a hurricane- and tornado-proof facility that is secure and reliable.

How many generators provide emergency power?

Are there strong data connections — which are needed in an emergency situation?

Disaster recovery office space must take into account what their surrounding area will look like when severe weather hits. Will you be able to access the facility if there’s heavy debris, ice, or snowstorms?

Room to grow

How many square feet of space is available to you?

Can you scale the space as your business grows?

Looking to the future is important for physical space. It’s not just about what you need now, but what your growth projections are for the next 5-10 years.

Reliable partner

Can you buy space that is dedicated to you and use it when it’s needed?

Does the partner offer blended internet options for your team?

What does the redundant power and generator maintenance schedule look like?

Can the space support your backup needs and remote workers?

A reliable partner looks out for your best interests. They should be offering you ideas and making the space fit you, not the other way around.

Options for work-from-home or remote workers

Disaster recovery office space isn’t just for corporate offices.

When working from home, if your power or internet goes out, you can’t do any work at all.

A disaster recovery office space allows those who work from home a backup in case they lose services.

This can be used not just for emergencies, but for power failures, construction that knocks out internet lines in the area, or any other event.

FIBERTOWN work area recovery offerings

Different businesses have different Work Area Recovery (WAR) needs.

FIBERTOWN disaster recovery customers have access to comfortable workspaces including desks and tables with voice and data capabilities, conference and meeting rooms, 24×7 security and secure access via card readers or biometrics.

100% up-time for business-critical systems

FIBERTOWN offers fully redundant, secure and reliable data centers to keep your business-critical systems available 100% of the time. As a colocation provider, the range of disaster recovery solutions is nearly unlimited.

You can use FIBERTOWN as your primary & secondary sites, only secondary sites, hot or tape back-up, and for Highly Available (HA) fail-over.

We can help you configure your systems in the way that is most efficient and appropriate for your disaster recovery needs.

Data Center   Disaster Recovery   Disaster Recovery Weekly   Latest 0 comments on 4 Key Facility Areas to Prepare for Winter Weather

4 Key Facility Areas to Prepare for Winter Weather

As January winds down, cold spells continue to march across the country.

It begs the question: Are you prepared for the late arrival of winter?

Winter weather has now arrived in full force around the Gulf Coast and Southeastern US, and some are having flashbacks to Winter Storm Uri and the subsequent freezes.

Is your facility prepared for any winter weather that comes your way?

Here are our top four concerns to be prepared for as winter rolls on.

Be prepared for whatever winter brings

While there’s no guarantees with weather — it’s best to be prepared for anything. If you haven’t already, check on these important areas of concern.

  1. The potential for severe weather as cold fronts move through. Are you prepared for severe weather to impact your power supply? What emergency plans does your facility have in place today? Make sure you’ve removed debris and secured any stored material in preparation for high winds.
  2. Back-up generator maintenance. Are your battery and charging systems ready for a 30-degree temperature swing overnight? Do you have block heaters operational to keep engines ready to start during cold weather? Are your coolant systems at appropriate mixture/levels to survive a hard freeze?
  3. Cooling and HVAC systems. Are your chillers and chilled water systems insulated and freeze protected? Make sure your humidifiers are operational and prepared to add humidity. The goal here is to prevent static electricity from low relative humidity as cold, dry air dominates. What about your rooftop systems and drain/plumbing; are they freeze protected?
  4. Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). Are your UPS well maintained and ready to support a critical load? For example; during an unplanned utility outage or generator issue?

Plan for the worst

We get it — investing money in “precautions” and planning for the “what-ifs” sounds like a lot of dollar signs on the chance of a possibility.

But, trust us, you do not want to be on the other end, wishing that you had been prepared.

Did you know the average cost of downtime can be up to $11,600 per minute? That can really add up quickly.

In winter weather, temperatures can go from 80 degrees to 30 degrees in less than 12 hours.

At FIBERTOWN, you can be sure that we are always prepared for the worst. Our customers depend on it.

Do you have a backup plan?

Putting your emergency plans down on paper ensures that everything goes smoothly when you need to activate it. And make sure everyone has access to the plans — in an offline environment.

Year-long diligence with preventative maintenance will help prevent failures when unplanned outages occur.

For you and your employees – prevent a bad day from getting worse! If your company is working from home, what is the plan if the internet goes out?

FIBERTOWN is prepared with disaster recovery office space should you need it. Contact us today to chat about specs and your needs. We’re here to help!