This blog was originally published on The VAR Guy on Nov. 12, 2012.

How IT Providers Used the Cloud to Weather the Storm

With damage estimated at $60 billion, Sandy is the second costliest hurricane on record in the United States. Countless businesses lost revenue while waiting for power to return or floods to subside. But many others were prepared, thanks to the IT professionals who made sure they had the right technology in place to weather any storm. Here are a few of the positive stories to come out of this disaster.

Spinning Up VMs to Avoid Downtime

As Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast the night of October 29, a financial asset management business in Manhattan saw their servers going down as the flood waters from New York Harbor rose. But their Connecticut-based IT service provider had prepared them for such an event, and spun up a virtual version of the business’ entire infrastructure in the cloud. This gave the asset management firm’s clients uninterrupted access to services, even through the storm.

Also in the storm’s wake, an IT service provider in New Jersey did a cloud-based failover for one of their clients, another asset management company. Since the IT provider had technology in place to replicate the firm’s data, applications and systems in the cloud, the business was able to continue without loss of productivity or revenue. These financial businesses were subject to industry regulations for the backup and recovery of client data, and had their reputation hanging in the balance. So the IT provider’s quick work with the right technology proved to be a priceless lifeline.

In addition to the above examples, dozens of IT providers in Sandy’s path used the latest technology to spin up virtual offices, restore deleted files and recover damaged servers for their customers in many types of industries. Their heroism is not only in knowing what to do during an emergency, but preparing well in advance with technology that delivers real business protection when needed.

Not All Backup is Created Equal

Sadly, not all businesses had the right systems in place to protect and restore their information and systems during Sandy’s onslaught. More than 57 percent of businesses in North America still rely on tape backup, which is costly, highly prone to error and calls for cumbersome manual intervention. Tape-reliant businesses on the East Coast will likely spend weeks piecing together their data and getting their IT systems fully back online. Some may never recover.

However, as we can see with businesses that were well prepared for Sandy, those with the right technology in place have no reason to fear. In each case referenced above, the IT provider used technology developed by Axcient.

dmortensen