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For Tim Shea, the founder and CEO of Alpha NetSolutions, a 10-year-old managed services and cloud computing provider based in Millbury, Mass., Hurricane Sandy was a non-event for his customers. That's because of the technology advances that have come with dramatic improvements in cloud computing, Shea said, and its accompanying backup disaster recovery.
"We had a few calls, but it's business as usual," said Shea, discussing the impact of Hurricane Sandy that wreaked havoc up the East Coast. "No one has lost data. All our managed services clients are prepped for this, and we have contingencies in place. None of my customers are in fear of losing their data. If something happens we know what to do. We have been through this so many times it isn't even funny."
Although Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast this week, creating widespread damage, cloud networks held up for the most part.
The very nature of cloud computing -- the ability to host data center assets off-premise in remote, distributed data centers -- can protect data from a disaster, even if it’s a hurricane that spans several hundred miles.
"One of the most understated use cases for the cloud is disaster recovery," said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst with ZK Research, a networking and cloud research firm. "The cloud is built for back up and recovery, with geographically disbursed networks."
Cloud Sherpas, A Google partner delivering Google Apps and other products to customers in a cloud model, has had few problems of network availability, said Michael Cohn, senior vice president of Cloud Sherpas.
"With Google, data doesn't live in any data center," Cohn said. "It's fragmented and distributed in multiple data centers."
Like Google, Rackspace has data centers located around the world and can ensure networks remain operational in a disaster.
"We have the tools now to build out disaster recovery using the cloud," said John Engates, Rackspace CTO. "People are going to think about having a disaster recovery in the cloud because of the hurricane this week."