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Hurricanes Boost Hosted Storage

Hosted storage and services are becoming increasingly popular with users in the hurricane-ravaged southeastern U.S. in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Many IT managers are now attempting to plan for the unthinkable and have totally revamped their storage and server infrastructures. That has served them well as they confronted more recent storms such as Ike and Gustav.

"I think that probably the most important thing that we have done is that we have moved to an Application Service Provider(ASP) model wherever possible," said Peggy Villars-Abadie, executive director of IT for the New Orleans Parish School Board, explaining that the organization's digital lesson planning and critical "Blackboard" system are both hosted elsewhere. Blackboard, which is an academic Web portal, is hosted by a Washington-based company of the same name, and Villars-Abadie explained that the Board's ERP systems are hosted by Maine-based Tyler Technologies.

After the devastation wrought by Katrina, Villars-Abadie and her staff have thrown their weight behind hosted storage, servers, and services. Three years ago, the school board lost a massive chunk of its hardware to the floodwaters and the ensuing chaos, a scenario that Villars-Abadie is desperate to avoid repeating.

"The devastation that the school board experienced, not just from the storm but [also from] the ensuing political upheaval, made everyone open to new ideas," she said. "[It's] the nightmare of not having access to the information because it's dependent on our ability to reach the physical infrastructure."

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