Temp Locations Still Home to Some IT Ops

After the storm, one important task was figuring out how to move workers around

The physical dislocations caused by Hurricane Katrina forced affected 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, said his task list after the storm included finding a way to get IT workers to Baton Rouge, where the school set up a makeshift data center at Louisiana State University that it continues to use.

He also has had to identify places for workers to live while they were in Baton Rouge. Several employees who owned RVs used them as their temporary residences, he said. Burgard himself commuted four hours a day round-trip between the New Orleans area and Baton Rouge.

Katrina Coverage
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 houses its data center, was rendered uninhabitable by the hurricane. Until Nov. 11, Hancock used disaster recovery hot sites in Chicago and Atlanta to keep its systems running. None of the bank’s hardware was damaged in the storm, and Hancock 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,” he said. That the strategy will include replicating critical files and information to lessen the downtime associated with data backup-and-restore operations, according to Sandoz.

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. As recently as late November, he said, some of Hancock’s 110 branches were still having telecommunications problems.

“When those circuits went down, we couldn’t communicate except by radio phone,” Sandoz said.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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