It wasn’t that long ago that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) implemented rolling blackouts throughout California in an effort to prevent wildfires — an unprecedented move in the U.S. My office in North San Jose was spared, but several other San Francisco Bay Area locations were met with power outages. Critics of the move say that PG&E was in the wrong for shutting off power, as it quickly became a public safety issue. It raised the question of how companies that rely on networks to run their businesses prepare for power outages.
As more organizations move their data to the edge, it has made networks more vulnerable to outages caused by natural disasters compared to when networks were mostly run out of a few centralized locations that had robust infrastructure and dedicated staff. But as the trend of moving to the edge shows no signs of slowing down — and as natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes increase in both regularity and severity — network engineers must create strategies to protect and sustain edge networks during natural disasters. The following best practices are a good place to start.
- Be strategic at the edge
In the past, companies would focus disaster recovery plans on their headquarters and other major data centers. But now, they also need to think about the edge and evolve their strategies to ensure recovery plans exist for every site.
- Develop a resilient network
After an outage — whether from a natural disaster or not — network engineers must ensure that a plan is in place to quickly and securely bring networks back online. As the move to the edge continues, creating a resilient network that can withstand and recover from a service disruption becomes mission critical. Network resilience allows companies to continue normal operation, even in the face of an outage.
- Have a direct link to core infrastructure
Companies can implement out-of-band management (OOB) at edge sites, giving administrators access to devices remotely and providing visibility into the network. In the event of a disaster, the network administrator has the power to reconfigure network devices remotely, bypassing failed equipment to recover the network without an IT expert on the ground.
As natural disasters increase, organizations will need to rethink their strategies to ensure they’re able to weather the storm. By creating a strong disaster recovery plan, companies can be better prepared to react and resume business quickly.