incrediBILL - 6:11 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
Thought today might be a good time to discuss data center hosting locations. Hurricane Sandy is a prime example of why I pick my data center locations where I do avoiding certain areas, especially coastal locations. Not that you can ever avoid all bad weather and natural disasters but there are places that make better locations for data centers than others.
Sure there's huge data centers where I live and server access would be much faster and I could even colo and use my own hardware. However, I live in a quake zone that shakes all the time and we just had a tsunami alert the other night. I certainly don't want to have to worry about have a down server when I'm crawling out of rubble and trying to scramble uphill before being washed out to sea.
What to avoid:
* Coastal areas prone to tropical storms or tsunami warnings, nothing too close to the ocean.
* Tornado alley, eliminates most of the fly over states.
* Earthquake prone locations, which eliminates the West Coast and places like the New Madrid fault.
* Flood zones. Any general areas that have been flooded is off the list.
* Heavy snow areas where they tend to lose power for days at a time which pretty much eliminates any US States bordering Canada.
* Wildfire prone areas. Anywhere close to any recent wildfires or places where wildfires could occur are off the list. Learned a hard lesson here in 2004.
* Anywhere that has a history of losing power for days at a time for being in proximity of locations impacted by natural disasters.
Big difference from the old days of running a BBS from a computer sitting on my desk and when you lost power, it lost power, poof!
Even taking all this into account anything could happen and your DNS needs to be setup so you can easily move your accounts in the event your host suddenly dropped into a big sinkhole and vanished off the face of the earth. Also make sure you have, if available, an alternate email account defined that isn't being hosted on your server for the purpose of doing password resets or any kind of email confirmation that may be required.
I hope nobody is being impacted by the current hurricane but whether you are or aren't, today is a good time to reevaluate your hosting location, DNS setup and any other server disaster preparedness you might need to do.
TIP: I keep backup copies of some of my sites in my cell phone and a USB keychain just in case. Putting a copy "on the cloud" wouldn't hurt except you never know where that cloud is when you really need it, could be in the same sinkhole with your server!