Disaster Recovery Planning Is Simpler, and Harder, Than Ever
=Disaster Recovery in the Cloud} The disaster recovery market has grown so much that it has started branching off into specific kinds of data recovery for different verticals, such as high-performance computing, health care and education. And online backup and replication in the cloud--managed services using the Internet--are also being brought into the mix. Computing in the cloud helped Tulane University in New Orleans get back up and running three years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit."We'd been running Xythos for several years, but we didn't have access to our own [Xythos] server right after the hurricane," Krob said. "It was not under water, but it was not accessible at all. We contacted Xythos, and they gave us capacity to work [online] until we were able to get our own server back up." Tulane's main IT center was dark for about three weeks. "Our payroll and student systems were brought up fairly quickly at our Sungard recovery sites," Krob said, "but others, like our Blackboard [online teachers' site] and Xythos file storage systems, had to wait until we had reconnected with our own data center." The service that Xythos made available to Tulane really made a difference in keeping track of Tulane students after they were relocated "at literally hundreds of institutions," Krob said. "We had to track them down, record where they all were, make sure they were getting their correct amounts of financial aid, and make sure they were going to come back the next fall," he said. "We created a spreadsheet that we sent to registrars and financial aid officers at all the universities where we had our students. "We were able, with Xythos, to create a -drop box' where they could drop in the spreadsheet [containing personal student information]. There was security on it, security in the transfer. We set up the security session so that once they dropped [the information] in, they couldn't see it anymore. Only authorized personnel at the assisting institutions and at Tulane could see the students' personal information."
Tulane uses products from Xythos, a San Francisco-based data recovery company that focuses most of its business on the education sector, to track all its files and archive them on a daily basis in the cloud. Adam Krob, director of end-user IT support for the university, was very thankful for that system following the big storm.