ANN ARBOR — Hurricane Sandy and the recent James Bond and Red Dawn films show the power of “online amnesia” to wipe away all your data — and power — in an instant. Ann Arbor-based Online Tech, a “Fort Knox” for data, is expanding to meet demand.
“You can insure against a financial loss; you can’t insure against a data loss,” said Online Tech CEO Yan Ness.
Online Tech received a $20 million investment from News-Press & Gazette Co. to build four additional data centers across the Midwest and continues to add staff to its three fully owned data centers and Ann Arbor headquarters.
Sandy not only knocked out power across the East Coast, but its damage also overwhelmed the backup plans at two major Manhattan data center buildings as well. Michigan, in comparison, is safer from natural disaster than any other state in the continental United States. Companies in flood-prone areas are looking more to the nation’s “North Coast” in the Midwest.
Massive flooding caused by Sandy’s rains and storm surge damaged several New York City data centers without a backup generator to power their server. Online Tech has backups for everything including double generators and batteries, even facilities on multiple power grids.
George Reese, Chief Technology Officer of enStratus, told The Huffington Post — another high-traffic Web site that experienced outages due to the storm — that companies choose data centers based on cost.
“In an ideal world, people select data centers based on their tolerance of natural disasters,” Reese said. “In reality, real estate and power costs drive data center locations, with disasters being something you prepare for.”
Ness remembers past disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2003 blackout that impacted a third of the United States. Online Tech’s unique niche, straddling two national power grids, came into play then as business owners literally drove to the company with servers they needed to get back online.
Online Tech is hosting a three-part series of interactive, educational disaster recovery Webinars spanning several weeks in January and February. In the first Webinar, Online Tech Systems Support Manager and CISSP, Steve Aiello will cover an overview of business continuity and disaster recovery with real company examples as well as the benefits of developing a business continuity plan. Business Continuity in Lean Times will be held Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. Eastern time. More at www.onlinetech.com.