06-25-13 | Blog Post

The Right Distance for Michigan Disaster Recovery Sites

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The question of how far is far enough – for disaster recovery – arose after 9/11 when a significant area of Manhattan was shut down.  This prompted the Security and Exchange Commission to suggest that 200 miles would be appropriate between primary and secondary sites.  But even that suggestion was questionable.

Then in October 2012, the area was hit again with a different disaster – Hurricane Sandy.  This disaster took out companies’ primary data centers in New York and their backup data centers in New Jersey.  This type of disaster displayed the need of having a disaster recovery site nearby and one far away.

So how far should your disaster recovery site be?

There is no one-size-fits all solution to determine the perfect distance between your disaster recovery sites.  However, a first step to consider is the probable threats in your geographical area. If your area is prone to hurricanes, then your disaster recovery location may be different that if you are in an area threatened by tornadoes.

For companies looking to Michigan for their disaster recovery site, 50 miles is perfectly acceptable, says Yan Ness, Online Tech Co-CEO. Although Michigan does have a very low probability of natural disasters, Michigan is susceptible to tornadoes.  However, the swathe of tornado damage can be measured in hundreds of yards unlike hurricanes which is measured in miles. It certainly doesn’t reach 30 or 40 miles like hurricanes do.

“So we have data centers that are 50 miles apart.  Those are perfectly suitable for doing production and disaster recovery.  You can be within one state and have both locations protected against the disasters that happen in this area,” says Ness.

Many of our disaster recovery clients located in hurricane prone areas like Florida or North Carolina have specifically selected Online Tech’s Michigan data centers for their low probability of natural disasters.

Another thing to consider for your disaster recovery site is making sure that your recovery site is on a different power grid.  One thing unique about Michigan is that there are two separate power grids.  One serves the northern half of lower Michigan and the other serves the southeastern and southern half of Michigan.

Online Tech’s Michigan data centers offer an ideal solution for both production and disaster recovery data center applications.  Data centers are strategically located 53 miles apart, directly connected with Gigabit fiber and located on two separate power grids.

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