Shark Tank: Rain, Rain, Go Away

When hurricane season arrives, this pilot fish in Florida isn't worried. The disaster recovery plan is in place. Backups are done. The new generators are fueled. And when a storm hits, everything keeps running -- except that it's pretty dark in the data center and the IT staff is monitoring the servers by flashlight. "Did the bulbs blow when the power surged back on? Or maybe the breaker tripped?" fish asks. "No - further investigation revealed that no one had bothered to wire the lighting into the generator."

Sog Story

It's the early 1980s, and this company is moving to a new data center -- which is a major undertaking for the one department that still keeps all its data on punch cards and refuses to copy it to tape. "The department head told us he planned to move his many filing cabinets worth of card drawers by hiring a flatbed truck," says an IT pilot fish. "Then the data center manager asked one question: 'What happens if it's raining that weekend?' The department head got a blank look on his face as his jaw started its trip to the floor. The data was moved to disk by the end of the week."

You Said Bring Back All the Computers

This big hospital is shutting down a remote physical therapy office, but the outpatient clinic at the same site will stay open. So after this pilot fish sends two newly hired PC techs to collect the therapy office's computers, he's a little concerned when the connection to the clinic drops off. Maybe it's a power outage from this thunderstorm, he figures. "Hours later, I begin to cry when the techs return and start unloading the equipment: monitors, PCs, mice, keyboards -- and then the router, switch and complete patch panel with a spaghetti of cut wires out the back," fish says. "'Why in @#$%! did you remove the networking equipment?' I ask. Then I remember the network closet was located in the therapy office."

Whatever Works

This Gulf Coast facility is big, but it's a long way from the big city -- or a really big network connection. So, what's the plan for protecting data when a hurricane strikes? consultant pilot fish asks IT manager. Manager replies, "Because we're so far from any real bandwidth, when we see a hurricane coming, we call everybody on the campus and tell them to make a full backup of their data and bring it to the designated trailer. Once everyone is accounted for, we put all the tapes in my pickup truck and drive north for a few days."

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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