12-05-12 | Blog Post

Michigan Data Centers: Building Reliable Infrastructure to Strengthen the Michigan Economy

Blog Posts

In a recent article, State Energy Efficiency Initiatives for Michigan Businesses, I wrote about Michigan Gov. Synder’s Energy and Environment Special Message delivered last week and how commercial buildings can benefit from energy conservation design. In the report addressed to Michiganders and the Michigan Legislature, Synder also refers to the transmission infrastructure of the state’s electrical ‘superhighways,’ and the need to improve the reliability of the infrastructure in the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan Reliable Energy
Michigan Reliable Energy; Source: Michigan.gov

He mentions data centers when referring to business reliability:

What does that mean for daily life? Whether it is a business engaged in just-in-time manufacturing, a data center providing computing services, a hospital with sensitive equipment, or a homeowner with insulin in the fridge, reliability is vital and valuable. You can’t grow economically, or even hold your own, if the power isn’t there reliably.

Snyder suggests exploring connection between Michigan’s peninsulas electrically to reduce the cost of moving power around in both places and create opportunities to improve supply as well.

When it comes to reliability, the first place to start is with design – Online Tech’s Michigan data centers are located 53 miles apart and interconnected through Gigabit fiber. Our infrastructure is built to provide high availability hosting with power from separate utility providers, and multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Our network automatically fails over between providers and network circuits if any issues arise, ensuring network and server connectivity.

High Availability Infrastructure
High Availability Infrastructure

All of our facilities’ critical equipment is N+1, or fully redundant. Our Ann Arbor 2 data center even has dual generators in the event of a power outage. When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, much of lower Manhattan was powered by generators. However, some data centers ran into problems with flooding, as their generators were located in the basement. Flooding disabled critical diesel fuel pumps, leaving providers no way to refuel generators, according to DataCenterKnowledge.com.. As a result, many popular sites were affected and experienced downtime while the data centers were in remediation mode.

An offsite location (far from potential natural disaster areas) is one way businesses can ensure uptime and data/application availability in the event of a disaster. Finding a data center located in a disaster-free zone means choosing an inland area – hurricanes cause storm surges to coastal areas and flooding hundreds of miles inland. Hurricanes then weaken into tropical storms and cause major flooding as they move along their path, often ravaging subsequent areas such as the South.

The Midwest, and Michigan specifically, does not typically experience any major natural disasters that can seriously compromise server facilities. The most common natural hazards, according to FEMA’s Michigan website, are thunderstorms, lightning, floods, winter storms and extreme cold. Read more about Michigan offsite backup and Michigan disaster recovery.

Aside from location and avoiding known disaster areas, businesses that need a high availability hosting infrastructure can invest in high availability racks that are uniquely designed to withstand single points of failure. Each server should have two power sources and two paths to an Internet connection. Read more about High Availability in our white paper, and view a diagram of a high availability rack.

Want more on disaster recovery? Watch a webinar below on IT disaster recovery in the cloud vs. traditional backup paradigms, and the benefits of using cloud computingCloud Computing and VEEAM for Backup and DR. Visit the link to read the transcript and download the slides.

Or watch a webinar below showcasing a case study from Online Tech’s corporate IT failover testing, and how cloud computing can be used for a robust recovery plan – Disaster Recovery in the Cloud. Visit the link to read the transcript and download the slides.

Related Links:
Michigan Disaster Recovery
Michigan Disaster Recovery & Hurricane Sandy: Podcast
Risks on the Rise: Making a Case For IT Disaster Recovery

FEMA Ready Michigan
Massive Flooding Damages Several NYC Data Centers

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