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Embrace the cloud for disaster survival and recovery

Tony Bradley | March 17, 2011
The catastrophes in Japan illustrate the value of embracing the cloud for resilience and disaster recovery.

SAN FRANCISCO, 17 MARCH 2011 - The world is still watching the island nation of Japan intently as it struggles to address the aftermath of a record 8.9 magnitude earthquake, followed by a devastating tsunami, a volcano eruption, and multiple nuclear reactors threatening to meltdown. In the wake of the destruction, business as usual needs to resume as quickly as possible, and companies that have embraced cloud solutions have a distinct advantage.

The natural disasters have severely crippled Internet access and communications across the nation--and throughout much of the region. That makes it difficult to access cloud-based servers, applications and data storage. However, the interruption of network availability is temporary, while companies that relied purely on local infrastructure may find their servers under a pile of rubble, and their backup data washed away with the tsunami.

It is an unfortunate lesson to have to learn the hard way--especially this hard way. But, an event like the epic disaster in Japan is a dramatic example of the value of cloud solutions when it comes to resiliency in the face of a catastrophe, and the ability to recover and resume operations as quickly as possible. Let's look at some of the ways cloud solutions help your company rebound:

Servers. Hosting servers in the cloud using services like those offered by Amazon or Rackspace means having those servers a safe distance from any disaster. Cloud hosting providers also generally have more redundancy of network connections, mirrored sites, and other precautions to ensure access under adverse conditions.

Applications. I am a big fan of running Microsoft Office locally on my laptop. But, if my laptop is destroyed, so is my productivity. Companies that make use of cloud-based applications like Google Apps, or Microsoft's Business Professional Online Services (BPOS--soon to be replaced by Office 365) can log in and be productive from virtually anywhere and any device--including smartphone or tablets.

Online Data. Like my local copy of Microsoft Office, I also tend to keep my data stored locally on my laptop's hard drive. Seems convenient at the time, but had I been in Japan during the disaster there is a fair chance my laptop would not have survived. Using services like, Dropbox, or SugarSync means that your data lives in the cloud. It is everywhere you are, and like cloud applications can be accessed from just about any device capable of connecting to the Web.


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