Tag Archives: Disaster Recovery Plan

Do Solar Storms Cause Data Disasters?

There have been scientific predictions on the geomagnetic storms for a while now. Scientists have estimated various unpleasant impacts of the solar storms to be about $2 trillion. The damages caused by electricity charged gas travelling at 5 million miles per hour is anticipated to disrupt both the communication technology infrastructure, as well as, communication networks for many years to come.


A renowned Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics expert, Daniel N. Baker, PhD from University of Colorado, commented, “I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did. If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, the earth would have been in the line of fire.” This is particularly worrying as the sun has been in its dormant state for more than a century. The comment, made by Dr. Baker to the press, noted that solar flares that took place for a few years in this decade have disrupted ground communication.


According to Wikipedia, solar storms are classified as A, B, C, M or X. Class A being the lowest and class X being the highest (as in Richer scale for earthquakes).  Each letter has its own scale. For instance, X1 is less powerful than X9.


The earth has experienced class X sun storm several times. Class X sun flare is so powerful that it did radiate billions of electrically charged particles to the earth. Such discharge is known as Coronal Mass Ejections that light up geomagnetic storms in the magnetic field of the earth. Dr. Baker went on to state that “while technology we use every day will be susceptible to the impact of space weather conditions, it will help us evaluate the robustness of the systems we have built”.


Is there any relation between data backup / data storage and solar storms? The vigorous particles that are discharged from the solar storm and the sun will certainly interact with the surrounding magnetic field of the earth. This will help increase the ionisation in the ionosphere for 100 km to 1,000 km above the earth. The discharged flares could cause equipment damages and increase the chance of strong electric current in long conductors, including power lines and the pipelines, which could eventually result in system outages. As a result, technological systems could fail and data could be lost; and colossal amount of data could be at risk, including cloud backed up data. This is a new kind of risk that we have not encountered so far (unlike Tornadoes, Floods, Earthquakes) and the risk level can not be determined at the moment, as it has not happened yet, and unfortunately, the impact can only be known after the sun storm actually hits the earth.


Given such circumstances, companies around the world have been paying extra attention regarding their digital data and disaster recovery. Cloud backup and disaster recovery service providers around the globe are working harder than ever before to secure and protect organization’s data redundantly at multiple levels to make sure that data is recovered in an event a disaster strikes and there is a massive data deletion of the entire system. Therefore, it is the most intelligent and adaptable company that will be able to survive a disaster. In addition, it is more beneficial to be safe than to be sorry.


If you have not prepared for disaster — whether for sun flare related disasters or otherwise — you need to start right now.

How Cloud Services Guarantee High Availability

As businesses become more and more dependent on access to their digital assets, there is a growing intolerance to outages and down times. Continuous availability and high availability anywhere, anytime with any kind of device is the mantra of the age. Businesses struggling to meet this demand turn to cloud services to fulfil these expectations. Cloud service providers too, in keeping with their promise, are making an all out effort to bring the right technologies to the table so that their customers are never offline and their data never becomes inaccessible, whatever the circumstances.

Continuous availability of information requires planning. Once the customer has identified the applications that are mission-critical and must be continuously available, cloud service providers will recommend continuous backup of these applications. The backup process is orchestrated quietly in the background with no disruption to the production systems. Technologies such as bandwidth throttling, are used to ensure that the backup process consumes only redundant bandwidth or a minimal bandwidth. Data transmitted to the remote server is then continuously replicated on to one or more geographically dispersed servers to create redundant stores of the same information for future recovery.

The cloud service provider is very disaster conscious and has the responsibility of ensuring that disasters that impact the cloud data centre do not get passed on to individual customers using the services in the cloud. As part of the disaster recovery plan for the data centre, the cloud service provider links together the primary and secondary servers (that are geographically dispersed) in failover configurations. Secondary servers kick start their activity the moment the primary server develops a glitch or fails in any manner. Customers accessing or updating information are seamlessly shifted over from the primary server to the secondary server. The operations are so smooth that customers may not even realise that they have switched servers during a production operation. In the process, the cloud service provider creates a time-pocket in which the primary server can be set right and brought back into operation. High availability is an automatic outcome of this operation.

Customers who have geographically dispersed activities can also take advantage of cloud services multi-site data storage functions. If the enterprise has branches in the local area where a replication server is housed, the enterprise can configure the local replication server to service the requests of the branch. This will cut down on any latency that may be experienced by the branch in accessing and working with data stored on the centralised remote primary server. Any updates or operations on the enterprise data can be reverse-replicated from the secondary server to the primary server continuously.

It is no wonder that high availability is the guarantee of cloud service providers.

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