The 7.2 earthquake two weeks ago in Turkey got me thinking again about disaster preparedness and IT. It reminded me of the 5.9 earthquake that occurred on the U.S. east coast, a region that is not supposed to get earthquakes. I just did a couple of walk-throughs at two different client facilities. One had server racking very well secured at the top and bottom that looked like it would withstand a pretty severe shaking while the other site did not have any fasteners at either the top or the bottom of the server racks. I could have pushed the racks over myself by leaning on them.

Disasters can strike at any time and you usually cannot anticipate the nature or the severity of the disaster, but one thing we all know we need to be prepared for in California is an earthquake. There is no excuse for not having server racks not properly secured. In an earthquake there are going to be those businesses that are left relatively untouched and don’t miss a beat. There will also be the business next door that has failed to prepare and their consequences are going to be dire… even in a moderately severe earthquake. Which business are you?

Here are a couple of easy approaches you should consider when securing your valuable IT hardware, servers and racks. The first photo shows some well secured braces on the tops of the racks that are firmly mounted to the floor. This photo is taken at the Streaming Media Hosting datacenter in Anaheim and I have permission from their president Ben Byassee to post this photo. If you have questions about how they have done this give him a call. Their approach is pretty traditional and very effective.

The second photo is a newer approach to protecting vital IT hardware. It is a mounting system somewhat similar to how large buildings are now secured. The racks actually sit on a base that can allow the earth to move under the racks during an earthquake. I was talking with Craig Carter president of Hazard Reduction Systems about this system called ISO Base and how it works. ISO Base works by letting the systems stay in place as the earth moves around underneath them. Hard fixed systems can still undergo tremendous G-forces as they are moved around violently. ISO Base neutralizes all that. It is not for everyone, but for those looking for the utmost in protection this is the best thing I have seen, yet. The best part is that you can use these in your own private server room or at most hosting and colocation facilities.

This link is a neat animation of how ISO Base works. Check it out.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are prepared before it is too late.