Backup Vendors are Going Underground; Literally

Underground Backup

Some of the big guns in enterprise data backup are beginning to set up shop underground; not in the figurative sense, either. EMC, one of the companies we track and include in our solutions directory, has partnered up with Iron Mountain, a storage and information management company who’s flagship underground data center is located 220 feet below the surface in a cavern near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The two companies’ new backup offering will consist of off-site data vaulting and EMC’s backup appliances and replication and deduplication software called Data Vaulting.

We’re fairly certain the management teams at EMC, Iron Mountain and others don’t belong to the tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy community, but we’ll double-check on that and get back to you. In fact, Seagate, another giant in storage, took space in the underground data center for its cloud backup and disaster recovery services. The main focus in moving data sources below the earth’s surface is clear: keeping important business data safe. By hedging their bets, these backup companies further diversify their data holdings in the event of a far-reaching natural disaster. Or worse.

At the moment, these underground data centers are rare, but it looks like there is movement to begin doing more with them. Iron Mountain’s underground “data bunker” is in an old limestone mine. There are several others like it in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Underground data centers provide even more protection for important data in that they go largely unaffected by things like storms, which typically only impact above-ground facilities. However, they obviously do not protect against things like earthquakes or floods, but gains are being made to put these underground facilities in places where those types of things are much less likely to occur.

Companies have several options available to them when looking for a solution to backup their vital business information. Although not recommended by experts, they can store their data on-site. Data stored in that way is susceptible to the same kinds of disasters as the actual establishment. Organizations can store data off-site, but manage it on their own. A better option to be sure, but it really depends on how far away the data is stored. The further the better.

Conversely, enterprise companies can go through backup and disaster recovery companies to do the work for them. Since those companies likely have cloud capabilities and data storage centers in a variety of locations, this is a better bet. That’s where we see these underground data bunkers come into play. Solutions providers are hedging their bets even further; making it a near certainty that a client’s data is stored in enough locations to prevent loss even in the event of a widespread emergency.

“Our collaboration with EMC means companies can protect their data offsite, improve their disaster recovery processes and benefit from the scalability and efficiency that the cloud provides,” Eileen Sweeney, senior vice president and general manager of data management at Iron Mountain, said in a statement.

This column was inspired by an article on Datacenterknowledge.com. Click here for that story.

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Timothy King

Editor at Solutions Review
Timothy is Solutions Review's Senior Editor. He is a recognized thought leader and influencer in enterprise BI and data analytics. Timothy has been named a top global business journalist by Richtopia. Scoop? First initial, last name at solutionsreview dot com.
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