Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cloud Computing & Disasters

We are all reeling from the results of the latest earthquake in Japan coming so soon after our dear friends and families in Christchurch had the ground and their lives shaken.  Once we are over the shock it would be a good time to start thinking about disaster recovery and being prepared. We've put a bit of thought into disaster recovery and backup.

After the shock of Christchurch we, like so many others, took stock of our emergency plans. Our first priority is our people so we have upgraded our emergency kit, adding more water to it, extra food for us, and dog food for Myst. We've also made it easier to find in case its surrounded by rubble. After looking after the team here at Spiral our focus will shift to looking after our customers interests. People use our software to:
  • update their websites
  • manage their membership databases
  • manage and sell products online
  • send email newsletters and promotions
This software resides on servers in Auckland and Sydney.  If there is a local earthquake we are confident that a customer with electricity and a computer they will be able to use our software immediately. Both server sites have off-site backups.

We write software that runs in "the cloud" so it's only logical that a lot of our processes are managed by cloud software.  We also use other peoples cloud software, namely
  • Basecamp for project Management
  • Highrise for our Customer Database
  • Google Apps for documents, calendars and email
  • Xero for financial reporting and invoicing
  • Nautilus (our software) for updating website content
Our team can work anywhere from Napier to Petone to Canada to the UK. Supporting the flexible working arrangements we have implemented was the major driver behind setting all this up. While setting this up we have accidentally created an amazing disaster recovery situation. If our building in Petone was damaged by fire or natural disaster we would have all our critical data available immediately and could be back in operation as soon as we had access to electricity.

As for that server in Auckland - we deliberately commissioned the servers that your software, databases and websites are on in Auckland, rather than use another excellent provider here in the Hutt Valley. We backup all our data, and your data, to our local server here in Petone to cover any Auckland disaster.

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