CIO Symmetry

Oct 14 2011   2:43PM GMT

Is your data center disaster recovery plan ready for a zombie attack?

Wendy Schuchart Wendy Schuchart Profile: Wendy Schuchart

As any CIO knows, you must be prepared for just about anything. Hurricanes in Vermont? Sure. Earthquakes in Virginia? You bet. But many CIOs forget about one very obvious hole in their disaster mitigation strategies: an uprising of the undead. In the spirit of Halloween, let’s think about how your data center disaster recovery plan will stand up to the unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse.

Now that the CDC has updated its Zombie Apocalypse guidelines, CIOs are beholden to take the burgeoning waves of undead very seriously. (OK, maybe not that seriously.) Can you imagine trying to explain to your shareholders why your data center disaster recovery plan was foiled by the scourge from the grave? Or how your IT admin attacked and ate your user base? That’s a black mark on just about anyone’s resumé.

As all viewers of AMC’s The Walking Dead know, when zombies come into town, you almost certainly will lose electricity. Of course, because you’re a smart CIO, you’ve already installed an uninterruptible power supply that’s able to handle the load of keeping everything up and working. Your generator has been recently tested and is strong enough to power the data center. And if you’re really clever, you’ve had the forethought to make sure that the generator can start up automatically, since no one is going to want to brave the random zombies milling around in the office’s back parking lot (or wherever the generator is stored) just to get the servers moving. If anything, the undead event will be a great test of just how power hungry your data center really is. In fact, hindsight is always 20/20, and this just might be the push to move toward solar-power generation and green data center cooling techniques, like the oil-submerged servers we covered last month.

Assuming that your employees are hiding in their basements and attics, waiting out the ghoulish invasion, it would be nice if they could brave the hours by checking their email with their mobile devices or even get some work done by accessing their virtual remote desktops or with a thin client on their iPad. This, of course, will be possible because you’ve already taken the precaution of diligent remote data backups in case the invaders have already made it into the corporate offices (Probably through that door by the cafeteria. It never closes right.)  Of course, everyone who has ever watched a zombie movie knows that you can only count on the elements within your own control, so if you bank on cloud service providers, you also have a cloud backup and recovery plan for when their headquarters are overrun by creatures searching for braaaaaaains.

All fun aside, there’s still time in 2011 to test your disaster recovery plans and make sure that you’re shipshape and can withstand anything.  Whether it’s a disaster of movie monsters or something as natural as a flood or an earthquake, George A. Romero taught us an important lesson: it’s that only the lucky and the prepared truly come out of a disaster unscathed.

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