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Users Talk Power Pains

IRVINE, Calif. -- Data Protection Summit -- Despite recent concern about pandemics, hurricanes, and terrorist attacks, electrical power remains the top disaster priority for most U.S. organizations, according to CIOs and IT managers who spoke here yesterday. (See CIOs Ponder Potential Pandemic, Beware of Hurricanes, and Disaster Recovery Reconsidered.)

Belinda Wilson, executive director of HP's business availability division, warned that energy should be at the forefront of firms' disaster planning. "Power is still the biggest trend; it's an issue that needs to be taken care of," she said, highlighting the twin challenge of outages and spiraling energy costs.

Many firms are even turning off the servers at their disaster recovery sites, according to panelist Bill Peldzus, director of storage architecture at consulting firm GlassHouse Technologies. "This is to save money, particularly in the large data centers," he said, adding that some of his customers have as much as 70 or 80 Tbytes spread across 250 servers at secondary sites.

Such is the level of concern about the rising power costs that Google and Yahoo recently chose to build massive new data centers on the banks of the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington in order to tap directly into local hydro-electric resources. (See Google, Google's Space Oddity, Google Groans Under Data Strain, and Get Users Involved, Says Yahoo Boss.)

"Power is the most important issue right now, then after that, other disasters," said Kitman Lee, systems analyst at the L.A. County Sanitation Districts, which was forced to add a diesel generator to its UPS systems in the aftermath of rolling blackouts in 2005.

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