On July 13, 2019, Manhattan’s West Side lost power, plunging nearly 73,000 people into darkness for almost five hours. The culprit was a transformer fire, and the power outage resulted in subway stoppages, the cancellation of several Broadway shows, and even a number of people getting stuck in elevators and requiring rescue by the fire department.
The blackout should be a reminder to IT managers and operations managers about the importance of cloud computing and what it can do to help companies avoid problems caused by blackouts and power failures.
Here are five cloud computing lessons we can learn from the latest New York blackout.
1. This is why your cloud servers and data backups should be in different cities.
A lot of companies like to keep their data centers inside their own building. This means that any power failures or even loss of access due to hurricanes (a not-uncommon occurrence here in East Texas) is going to stop you from accessing your data. This may be one of the most important cloud computing lessons you could learn from this.
2. You can still function in a virtual office.
Of course, if you lost power in your office building, you won’t have access to your data anyway. Even if you have remote employees or a work-from-home contingency plans, your employees still won’t be able to access your data. With properly designed cloud infrastructure, you can still access your enterprise software applications and data once you find a way to get online.
3. You can still provide continuity.
Chances are your company website is housed on another server in another part of the country already, so if your home office has a blackout, no one visiting your website will know you’re not in operation at that moment. But if you have processes, IP, and databases that are needed elsewhere, such as inventory lists uploaded to a distributor, or business applications needed by vendor partners or clients, you can still fulfill those functions because those servers are not part of the blacked out equipment and facilities.
4. The actual computing is happening in the cloud.
If you’re still able to access a cellular signal, you can always access your Salesforce and Google apps data on a phone or tablet, and not just a laptop. So, if the New York blackout had lasted for a few days, Westside businesses that needed to access their data in an emergency could have hopped into a cab or a Lyft and headed to a nearby coffee shop that wasn’t blacked out in order to get it.
5. Your data is still backed up.
If you collect data online and through web-based interfaces, you don’t want to keep your data backups on your in-house servers. And if the power to your in-house data center happened to go out, you could lose that many days’ worth of data if you don’t properly synchronize and back it up. But with a cloud setup, you can process your data and back it up in two remote locations, without ever worrying about your local power outage. (And if a blackout happens to occur in the city where your remote server is kept, those facilities always have backup generators that can operate for days on end, as well as the capabilities of transferring functionality to a secondary location out of state.)
If you would like to learn how Value Global can help your company keep working whether you’re facing a blackout or even an evacuation order, as well as other cloud computing lessons, please visit our website or contact us for a demo with our representatives.
Photo credit: Dan Nguyen (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)