Sportswear company looks to the cloud for protection

Sportswear company looks to the cloud for protection

September 29

Columbia Sportswear was one of many businesses directly affected by the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, but next time the company plans to be prepared.

Columbia told InformationWeek that, as a clothing manufacturer, it wasn’t high on the priority list for emergency diesel power immediately after the tsunami took out power across Fukushima. The company runs a major data center in Tokyo which, while not directly affected, saw frequent power outages shortly afterward.

As such, trying to conduct business was difficult for the global company, because it didn’t have an easily accessible backup of its data at the center. With three petabytes of data stored on tapes, it would have taken several days to return to business, if the power even remained steady through that period.

“We didn’t realistically have a disaster recovery plan.” Michael Leeper, director of global technology for Columbia, said, according to the news provider. “We’d have to pray that the data came back off the tape.”

Today, the company is taking a different approach, and trusting in the cloud for its disaster recovery needs. The company already utilized virtualization in its data centers, and has decided to take the next step and embrace a combination service of online backup solutions and virtualization to move its servers hundreds of miles away.

Utilizing the cloud and virtualization can simplify the data backup process for many businesses, providing easier access and more efficient scheduling of protection. With virtualization a business can quickly copy a machine image to the cloud for protection, increasing backup frequency if needed. Additionally, as the servers are hosted remotely, a local disaster won’t directly affect data, just the business’ access to it temporarily. The combination of these services makes it much more efficient to keep large amounts of data safe and get back to work should the systems go down as the result of a storm or technical difficulty.

For Columbia, which had already implemented virtualization, deployment was easy. For businesses looking to invest in these tools for the first time, finding the right data backup software can be a little more involved, but still easy with the right help. No business wants to be without data protection, and investing in a physical or cloud solution is always a step in the right direction.