Data Center Natural Disaster Preparedness: Part II

In the wake of the recent natural disasters that devastated the Gulf region and the Southwest United States, T5 has written a four-part blog series sharing our perspective on what natural disasters and disaster recovery looks like for data centers. Part one of our four-part series can be found here.

Data centers should be built to withstand such disasters, but it is impossible to know the strength and force until the weather systems are upon us. Proper disaster evaluation is essential to lessen the impact of future disasters. This series addresses how T5 approaches natural disaster preparedness.

It has been a crazy week in the Southeast. Hurricane Irma forced many of us to deviate from our daily norms. Here in the Atlanta area, it took up to 1 week for power restoration for some residents. In Florida, 1% of residents are still without power. It may be years before things look normal again. We’ve had more people at our Alpharetta data center than normal. Many are from coastal areas. Some of those people came while Irma was three days away from making landfall.

I’ve heard story after story about people who thought they had it all covered, only to find out something they were expecting didn’t happen as planned. How well have you planned? Have you tested your plan? What happens when implementation doesn’t go according to that plan? These are the questions we ask of our prospects and customers. We want them to minimize the risks in these types of events. Your company could have the best-laid plans, only to see your disaster recovery coordinator resign a week before a major event. What do you do then?

I specifically asked one of our customers in T5’s Alpharetta data center how they fared during Irma. He said they had sent key personnel ahead to Alpharetta. Those people would be responsible for making sure their production workloads would continue to operate when their coastal data center may have issues. Their data center encountered outages from the utility substation. They were off and on generator power. While their coastal data center did not encounter any flooding, some of the surrounding roads did, making it difficult to get there at times. Many of their personnel live on an island on the coast and had to evacuate their families. They were not only juggling keeping the apps running, but making sure their employees and their families were safe.

Our customer was grateful for T5’s willingness to open up office space for his team. He said they had many calls to assess their vulnerabilities. They passed with flying colors. Now the effort is getting their employees back home. In many cases, those employees will have to balance rebuilding and work. The bottom line for this customer, everyone weathered the storm and their company was able to continue to do business without interruption.

How prepared are you? Can you weather the storm or something unexpected? If you’re not sure, speak with T5 Data Centers. We’ll help you minimize the risk of those unplanned events. Bob Kramlich is the Director of Enterprise Solutions at T5, and deals with companies at every stage, every day. You can reach Bob via email at

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