It Was A Dark And Stormy Night For Data Centers

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night (for Data Centers)

Arraya Insights | June 25, 2015

This week, a strong set of storms ransacked the greater Philadelphia area. Many business owners woke up to a disaster in their data center and downtime for their company. Hours of lost end user productivity ensued and IT quickly got burned out trying to get systems back online as rapidly as possible. The simple fact is – unexpected outages and downtime cost money.

In transient cases, like a storm or extended power outages, businesses may not want to enact their entire Disaster Recovery plan due to the complexities involved and the potential further complications from failing back. With Microsoft’s cloud solutions though, there are ways to reduce or remove your building (and its power) from causing you grief.

Office 365

In a disaster, it can be a huge benefit to have your collaboration services hosted elsewhere. Nowhere does this make more sense than with Office 365. Even if your facility suffered a catastrophic outage, having your employees work remotely on Office 365 and collaborating on next steps can be beneficial for business continuity and ongoing communications. With Office 365, your building no longer matters.

Consider this scenario: Several years ago, I worked with a company that had on-premises Exchange servers located in Colorado Springs that served their US West Coast employees. Due to a massive wildfire, the facility had to be shut down and no one was allowed near it. The power was still on and emails were still accessible, thanks to a generator. However, the fire showed no signs of subsiding. We left Exchange up as long as we could and moved mailboxes out as quickly as we could to another office. Eventually, we had to shut Exchange down until power was restored, which took several days.

This scenario doesn’t happen with Office 365. Microsoft has invested a lot of money in their data centers, providing redundancy and resiliency. By moving to Office 365, you are offloading your Disaster Recovery strategy for those workloads to Microsoft. Microsoft has the ability to fail over your data to another one of their geographically dispersed data centers in case of a disaster. Microsoft also backs Office 365 with a 99.9% SLA, not to mention, several layers of redundancy and resiliency.

It is tempting to consider Office 365 when you think of all the workloads that can just keep running for anyone that has an internet connection – email, instant messaging, file storage, and more!


There are many ways Azure can help you maintain operations while your facility is down. Microsoft’s cloud platform can be your failover site, complete with runbooks written and automated for your specific workloads. Coming in Q3, Microsoft will have the ability to failover VMware and physical server workloads as well. With certain co-lo Disaster Recovery providers, you may end up getting in a queue to get your workloads back online, but with Azure the capacity is there.

Besides being a great target for Disaster Recovery failover, you could just run your business critical workloads in Azure, too! This can help reduce capital hardware costs and expensive storage (and network) replication technologies. Microsoft has several layers of redundancy that you can choose from, removing the worry from a geographic disaster. For example, if you are still running your website in your own data center, think about what it would mean to have that website up without interruption when all your competitors are offline!

We’ve previously mentioned some great ways to get started in Azure. It might just be easier than you think!

The events of the past week have placed a lot of business owners and CIOs on edge about their data centers, but all considerations should be discussed before making the jump to any cloud platform. Arraya can help you make these decisions through our discovery processes and Cloud Assessment engagements, helping you to identify easy to move workloads to get you started. To learn more visit www.ArrayaSolutions.com.