Consolidation has been a major trend in organizations globally. Operationally it is more cost effective to run a single data center that multiple data centers. Over-consolidation however, bring other risks.
With the advent of technologies such as Axxana, extremely high business resilience and zero data loss can be achieved with two data centers at asynchronous distances. Before Axxana, achieving this same level of resilience required three data centers.
Just this replication topology can be achieved across the Atlantic or across the continent does not mean that it should, however. Most studies show that a 300 mile separation between data centers provides as much protection against disaster as 3,000 miles, while making it much easier for critical staff, and possibly their families, to reach the secondary location both in testing and particularly in a real disaster. CIOs and disaster planners should ask themselves a simple question: “If there is a flood, earthquake, or hurricane at my primary location, would I leave family and friends and move across the continent for my company? Could I ask my staff to do that?”
Action Item: Second data centers should ideally be set up to allow easy traveling in the case of a disaster. The second data center should be big enough to accommodate traveling staff after a disaster. The locations should also be sited to provide maximum travel options -- ideally highway and train as well as air -- to maximize the chance that travel to the secondary center is possible in a disaster. Balancing load more evenly across two (or more) data centers is likely to give higher levels of practical resilience.