Severe Weather Thwarts the Best Laid Plans

A prime example of how severe weather affects the world around us was the recent high winds suffered in many states around the U.S., mainly in the East and Midwest. Called derechos, these rare severe thunderstorms develop due to high temperatures, such as from heat waves, and can develop hurricane-like winds. The Virginia and Washington, D.C. area was recently struck by such a weather pattern, causing damage and the loss of power to 1.2 million homes, with the power outage lasting days. The storm spanned over 700 miles with average wind speeds of 60 mph.

One area of business continuity that was affected by these severe storms was cloud computing. Cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) lost primary and backup generator power to a portion of one of its “Availability Zones.” And while several of its data centers were impacted by the derecho, only one was actually without power. The others had redundant power systems that worked properly. Not only were smaller companies affected by AWS’ outage, but such big name companies as Netflix, Instagram, and Pinterest were hindered as well.

The above is a prime example of how severe weather can affect the world around us. Power outages affect more than just our homes, but also the businesses at which we work and the companies that service those businesses. With global temperatures on the rise, severe weather is likewise seeing an increase. The increase of power outages due to severe weather will also rise as the temperatures do. Preparing for that eventuality is the best a business can do.

One way of preparing is to move a company’s assets out of just one location by spreading them around. That way when a disaster strikes, if that one location is taken out, not all is lost. This is a luxury that many small and medium-sized businesses cannot afford. That is where cloud computing comes into the picture. The cloud can be accessed from any computer. So, if a company’s primary location is taken out, then they can move to a backup facility and download their data from the cloud. Though, as shown with AWS’ situation, this is not always viable.

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