One of the most critical factors in protecting your critical data and avoiding downtime is your data center's ability to withstand natural or man-made disasters and acts of terrorism. The term "hardened data center" is used to describe computer room facilities that are designed to withstand these catastrophes.
The most common type of hardened data center (and many believe the best type) is a reinforced concrete structure. Reinforced concrete offers the best protection against tornadoes, the most common natural disaster in the Midwest. Reinforced concrete also offers excellent protection from earthquakes.
Other data centers are constructed as a building within a building, based on the thinking that a natural disaster might destroy the outermost building while the inner building protects the data center. This approach is often used when an existing building is being refit as a data center facility. The effectiveness of the protection is completely dependent on the type of building and construction. It is, however, inferior protection to a reinforced concrete structure.
Hardened data centers can be used as primary (production) data center facilities or as disaster recovery sites. Many consider a hardened facility more important for the production environment in order to minimize service interruptions.
How important is a hardened data center? It is critically important if you are trying to avoid downtime and if your area is prone to disaster.