US blackout yields divergent backup strategies

A survey of 500 IT managers released last week has revealed that IT managers affected by the blackout in the US last month tend...

A survey of 500 IT managers released last week has revealed that  IT managers affected by the blackout in the US last month tend to focus on fixing their own problems, such as improving backup power. Unaffected companies, however, are showing more interest in turning to suppliers for help.

Of those affected, according to the nationwide survey by AFCOM, the association for data centre professionals, 19% said they have plans to test backup power devices, compared with 8% of those who were unaffected. Eighteen per cent of those who lost power in the blackout will implement additional training, as opposed to 8% of those unaffected by the blackout.

Seventeen per cent of the data centre executives affected plan to test existing disaster recovery plans, while just 9% of those unaffected will be doing so.

IT managers said the 14 August blackout exposed problems such as inadequate training that might not be obvious to a company that unaffected.

Being more externally focused, unaffected companies are more likely to arrange for off-site backup services. Among unaffected companies, 24% intend to use a "hot" site with near-real time data backups or a "warm" site with periodic backups. However, only 4% of affected companies plan to use those services.

The survey also sought to determine the costs resulting from the outage. Two per cent of those surveyed said they suffered more than $10m in productivity losses; 1% reported losses of between $1m and $5m, and 10% reported losses of $100,000 to $500,000.

Patrick Thibodeau writes for Computerworld

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