Sidebar: Temporary Locations Are Still Home to Some IT Ops

The physical dislocations that were caused by Hurricane Katrina are forcing IT managers such as Jim Burgard to address problems as basic as how to get their staffers from one place to another.

Burgard, assistant vice chancellor for university computing and communications at the University of New Orleans, struggled after the storm to find a way to get IT workers to Baton Rouge, where the school set up a makeshift data center at Louisiana State University that it is still using. Finding places for them to live there was also a challenge, he said. Several employees who owned RVs used them as their temporary residences in Baton Rouge. Burgard himself commuted four hours a day round-trip between his temporary home in Crowley, La., and Baton Rouge. Now he's grappling with the transportation and housing issues as part of developing a new disaster recovery plan for the university.

Hancock Bank has been running its IT operations from a building in Gulfport, Miss., that housed its training staff before the hurricane, said Rodney Sandoz, senior technology officer at the bank.

The bank's headquarters building, which includes its data center, was rendered uninhabitable by the hurricane. Until Nov. 11, Hancock used hot sites in Chicago and Atlanta to keep its systems running. None of the bank's hardware was damaged in the storm, and it recovered all of its data, but Sandoz said officials are trying to better prepare for future emergencies.

"We are in the process of reviewing what we did and making plans to have a smoother transition," Sandoz said. He added that the strategy will include replicating critical files and information to lessen the downtime associated with data backup-and-restore operations.

In addition, the bank is eyeing satellite communications to augment its voice-over-IP network as part of an effort to avoid losing telecommunications capabilities if carrier networks are damaged. Sandoz said that as recently as late November, some of Hancock's 110 branches were still experiencing telecommunications problems. "When those circuits went down, we couldn't communicate except by radio phone," he said.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon