On March 10th, 2021, OVH, a major French data center, suffered a catastrophic fire which basically destroyed one of their buildings. The servers in that building were either destroyed by the fire or by the efforts of the fire department. The leadership team of OVH told their customer to execute their recovery plans. Some of their customers, like the game development team behind Rust, lost all of their European servers in the fire and will not be able to restore any of that data. So what can you learn from this incident? How can you protect your website from a calamity like the OVH data center fire? Here’s three tips how.
Tip #1 To Learn From The OVH Data Center Fire: Maintain A Local Copy Of Your Backups
If you don’t backup your website regularly then you need to start now! And if you do have backup schedule you need to download and maintain a local copy of your backups.
I understand that keeping your files in “The Cloud” provides ease because you don’t have to worry about the maintenance of that computer, but if that server in “The Cloud” dies you could lose all of your backups. So you need to download those and keep them on a local storage device. That could be a USB flash drive or a hard drive in your computer.
Tip #2 To Learn From The OVH Data Center Fire: Don’t Keep All Your Eggs In One Basket
This tip is for individuals who lease a dedicated server in a data center. I understand you want to keep all of your servers together in the same rack and in the same room because it makes on-site maintenance easier but you leave yourself open to disaster. If that room catches on fire you run the risk of losing all of your servers and possibly your data.
I’ve seen this myself as I’ve worked in several data centers throughout my I.T. career. Companies would install their production and backup servers in the same rack! And this happens more than you would think.
To avoid this, rent space in different parts of the data center. This way if something horrible happens in one part of the building, you could still operate your website and your business without too much disruption.
Tip #3 To Learn From The OVH Data Center Fire: Practice Your Recovery Plan
While it’s one thing to have a recovery plan, it’s another thing to practice using it.
First, you need to verify your backups work. There are several ways you can do this which is outside the scope of this article.
Second, if you have a backup server then you need to check it to make sure it’s still operational. I would go and check on servers for companies only to discover the hard drive or a stick of RAM has been faulty for months, if not years. Thus, they couldn’t use the computer when they truly needed it.
Finally, determine how long it will actually take to get your website back operational. Depending on your business the longer it takes to get your site back up and running the more money you will lose. Hence, long delays could bankrupt you. If you can’t handle a long delay then you need to invest into a warm site or even a hot site.
What To Do If You Don’t Know How To Implement These Tips
If you are are unsure how to create and/or practice using your recovery plan then I would reach out to an experience data recovery team or a managed service provider for assistance. Yes, this will cost money, and depending on your needs can be quite a large amount of money, but it’s worth it. Again, not having a recovery plan can bankrupt not only your business but yourself too.
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