How to Prepare for a Data Center Shutdown Procedure
Whether a shutdown is planned or due to a storm, power outage, cyber-attack, or other unavoidable disaster, having a Data Center Shutdown Procedure in place can be the difference in saving you time, money, and data.
At the core of your shutdown procedure preparation should be two considerations: (1) a business continuity plan and (2) a backup plan.
Creating a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
Business continuity planning is the process of creating a plan of prevention and recovery in the event of a disaster or planned shutdown. This is meant to protect assets and mitigate any unnecessary downtime, minimizing loss of revenue.
BCP will involve assessing all possible risks and the impact of each risk. This plan should include the input of stakeholders and personnel and be well documented.
Once all possible risks are identified and potential impact has been determined, the following should also be assessed in the BCP:
- How will each possible risk affect all operations?
- What safeguards can be implemented to negate possible risks?
- Have all procedures been tested to ensure effectiveness and reliability?
- Is the process up to date?
A BCP should also include:
- Business Impact Analysis
- Recovery Steps
- Continuity Team
In addition to a business continuity plan, scheduling routine data center maintenance is recommended.
When to Backup Your IT Infrastructure
While backups should always be a staple procedure to any data center or business, they are a critical process in preparing for a prepared shutdown. Before powering down servers, the backups should be verified that they have run successfully and are finished. Systems that aren’t regularly backed up might need to be backed up manually.
Types of Backup Plans
A full backup stores a copy of every file and typically is set up to run automatically on a preset schedule. A full backup can take longer to run and requires more space, although the process of restoring is much faster.
An incremental backup will save space by fully backing up the first, initial backup. The following backups will only back up the files that have been created or save since the last backup. While this makes the backup process much quicker, restoring lost data can take longer. It may also be more complex to locate and restore a specific file.
Differential backup is similar to incremental as the initial backup is full and following backups only store changes to files since the last backup. A differential backup has a faster restoring time than incremental backups but requires more storage space.
A mirror backup is an exact copy made of the source data. A mirror backup avoids storing old, obsolete files. When these files are deleted, they are removed from the mirror backup as well when the backup is performed. The downside to a mirror backup is when a file is accidentally deleted, it can be lost from the mirror backup when the next scheduled backup occurs without recovery.
Power Backup Equipment
Power backup equipment is suggested to help protect your hardware against damage from unexpected power failures, disasters, and planned shutdowns. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can provide emergency power when the power source fails, or voltage drops to an unmanageable level. A UPS can protect hardware when an unexpected power distribution could cause business disruption and data loss.
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