Hot, Cold and Warm Sites

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Hot, Cold and Warm Sites:

Hot Sites: A hot site is in direct contrast to the cold site in terms of functionality. It is a backup facility that is fully operational and is equipped with the necessary hardware, software, telecommunication lines, and network connectivity to allow an organization to be up and running almost immediately. A hot site will have all required servers, workstations, and communications links and can function as a branch office or data center that is online and connected to the production network. In addition, a backup of the data from the systems at the primary site is held on servers at the hot site. This can be a replication copy of the data from production servers, which may be replicated to the hot site in real time, so an exact duplicate of the systems are ready if and when required. The data can also be stored on the servers with the most updated information available from replicated copies. Hot sites greatly reduce or eliminate downtime for the organization.

The disadvantage of this type of facility is cost. Maintaining a fully functional hot site essentially doubles the organization’s budget for hardware, software, and services and requires the use of additional manpower to maintain the site.

Cold Sites: A cold site is a facility that is large enough to handle the operational load of the organization and has the appropriate electrical and environmental support systems. The drawback is a cold site is void of online computing facilities, does not have active broadband communications links, and has no part of the production network. A cold side may have a portion of needed equipment to resume operations but it would require installation time for the data to be restored to servers.

Because it has no operating computing base or communication links, a cold site is inexpensive to maintain as it doesn’t require maintenance of workstations and servers. The challenge is the amount of time and work involved to set up fundamental resources for the site to be fully operational.

Warm Sites: 

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