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In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many date centers are looking at new options to ensure resiliency. Facilities are considering the pros and cons of cloud services or co-location vs. the use of add-on "containers" to the data center. While using co-location or cloud sites is less expensive than owning and operating a data center, the downside is that, in the event of a catastrophe, an outside provider does not take responsibility for the costs of business interruptions if the site becomes inoperable. Co-location sites also present security risks, where data can be exposed or stolen.
A solution that has worked for some businesses is to have redundant facilities. One option is for organizations to have their own redundant facilities. A customer can also use multiple multitenant data providers or one provider with multiple facilities in different locations.
It is possible to deploy IT in two facilities where data is being constantly copied, every hour or so. It's not uncommon to have an East Coast/West Coast configuration, so that if the data center goes offline, data moves to the secondary site.
Cloud technology allows for virtualization, which means that multiple operating systems can be used on one server and applications can be moved to another server anywhere in the world if it becomes known that a storm is on the way. But not every application can be virtualized.
Other steps can also be taken to prevent future loss of services. Buildings could be made more resilient, for example, and equipment could be placed higher up in the building. Other data centers are talking about moving equipment above the flood plain or relocating.