Barbarians At The Datacenter

The Chief Executive OfficerAs I continue to look for my new CIO role. I am coming across some organizations that are looking outside their respect industry for talent. I recently interviewed with a publishing company who said flat out they want someone not from the publishing world. “Why?” I asked.  They felt that publishing expertise is lagging behind other industries in their use of technology.  I have seen other firms looking for these barbarians to manage their data. It is a refreshing thought.

This is a great opportunity for an organization to bring onboard an innovative disruptor to shake things up. As I have said in the past, change to some extent is good for any organization. As technology marches forward can any CIO say they are an expert in all areas?  Will a CIO have the experience to try new things? To take chances in order to make progress? These are fundamental questions for any CEO or CIO to contemplate.

I strongly believe that a CIO’s developed skills in one industry can be transferred successfully to another industry. Who’s to say that a medical CIO’s experience cannot be used in publishing? Granted there will be a learning curve, but there will be a learning curve for anyone taking on a new leadership role.

It might be scary for some who find comfort in knowing their respective industry inside and out. Myself- I believe that I am that barbarian that looks for new challenges. Working in different industries allows me to increase my marketability and continue to add to my toolbox.

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Disaster Recovery – A Beginners’ Guide

I have built several and moved several production and disaster recovery datacenters over the years. If you have been charged with this task and are in the initial planning stages this guide should help you get started.

First, you will want to rationalize and ask yourself what you want your DR site to accomplish?

Do you want to recover all your processes or only critical ones? Do you want to be operational for only a few days or for several weeks/months? Different businesses have different requirements so I would recommend forming a DR/BCP committee comprised of IT and business people. It will be important to get their input and requirements.

Once you begin asking yourself these questions you then will need to figure out if you need to recover all your servers or only a few. Again what is critical/not critical? Then you should start putting together a budget of costs: opex/capex to present to management and get approval before proceeding.

I have seen budgets make or break a project. But when it comes to DR planning, the sky’s the limit. So plan carefully and know your target audience.

Here is a brief list of some costs that I have encountered to get you started:

  • Are you building your own DR site from scratch or outsourcing to a DR firm.
  • Software licenses.  Some vendors require you buy additional licenses for servers.
  • Are you going to build DR servers with fault tolerance or not.
  • Travel costs to and from site.
  • Will the site be manned 24×7.
  • Copier/fax/ printer costs.
  • Maintenance costs of your equipment
  • Security
  • Hot/cold site costs
  • Declaration costs
  • Networking costs
  • Replication costs
  • Server Cosst (option for OS preload, Image loads, etc)
  • Test time costs
  • Data backup costs
  • Locker costs
  • Consulting costs

Once you have answered your questions and put hard numbers to your requirements then the next step is to build a disaster recovery site.

So good luck…