Disaster Recovery Planning Is Simpler, and Harder, Than Ever

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-07-17 Print this article Print

=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.

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.

"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."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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