Examples of Disaster Recovery

December 17, 2017 by  Filed under: Computer 

One of my first tasks when I was hired ten years ago was … the creation of a disaster recovery site for … computer systems. I had already had some … … and

One of my first tasks when I was hired ten years ago was toinvestigate the creation of a disaster recovery site for ourmainframe computer systems. I had already had some experienceswith disasters and recovery. Here are some examples of a fewthat we included in our plans.Major Earthquake – Those of us who live in California understandearthquakes. I’ve personally been through at least fivesignificant quakes (6.8 or greater) without suffering anydamage at all. In many people’s mind, a major earthquake isthe disaster scenario.One day the “big one” will come (in California) and who knowswhat will happen at that time. In fact, my boss and I were ableto convince the CEO of our company to create a “hot site” (aduplicate site which is already ready to take over in the eventof a disaster) because of a recent significant earthquake.One of the first things that we did is contact Caltech (theexperts on earthquakes) to commission a study to determinewhere we should place our disaster site. The primary criteriawas that the site be relatively close (within 50 miles) but ona different geologic plate so the earthquake would not flattenboth locations.As we studied the possibility of this disaster, we realizedthat the building and computers might emerge from the earthquakeentirely intact, but the infrastructure (power, phone linesand so forth) might be destroyed. In addition, a majorearthquake is a unique disaster because it’s more likely thatyour people will be in complete shock and more interested intheir families and homes than in restoring your computeroperations.The thing to do here is be sure you’ve got the infrastructureissues covered cold. This includes phones, power and thenetwork. Make sure you have a disaster site (or very goodbackups kept off-site) ready to go. Rehearse your disasterplan, and make sure your people know what to do.Minor Earthquake – A minor earthquake might be easy to survive(we’ve been through several of them with no issues) and itmight introduce some interesting quirks on it’s own. The powermight be out, phone lines might be down and take weeks torepair, and the general infrastructure (roads, food shipmentsand so on) might be disabled. In addition, earthquakes tend toput people into a state of shock, so it might be difficult toget people to recover and get back to work.Biological Event – When envelops fill of anthrax startedappearing on the news, we were suddenly confronted with a newtype of disaster. What if a biological attack or event occurredin our building? What if the receptionist opened an envelopcontaminated with anthrax? We would then be confronted with aunique situation. The building would be sealed and off-limitedfor days, weeks or even months; and we would not be allowedback in under any conditions for any reason for that time.This situation is probably one of the worst disaster scenariosof all. The old building and equipment is intact but completelyunreachable. Tantalizing and frustrating. Sigh. What to do?Hope and pray that you’ve got an excellent disaster recoveryplan and a very competent team, that’s what you do. In thiscase, you’d better have a hot site or, at the very least someexcellent backups. Not only that, you’re business continuityplan had better be totally finished and rehearsed. You see, inthis case you will not even be able to look through the rubleor burned building for papers, disks, CDs or anything else.Nothing, absolutely nothing, will be available for your usefor a long, long time. In fact, if any of your people are inthe building you may find them unavailable (as in quarantined)as well.Lightening – One day a few years ago, when I was just beginningin the computer field, I was working late, way past midnight.I was just sitting in the computer room (freezing my butt off),listening to one of the heaviest rain storms that I’d heard ina long time. It was kind of eerie, listening to the rain dropson the roof and the thunder in the distance.Suddenly, the room lit up and I was blinded for a few seconds.I instinctively pulled back from the keyboard, and I believethat saved my life. I felt heat on my face and body, and whenI opened my eyes the computer room was dark.I soon learned that lightening has struck the power pole justoutside the building. The computer simply melted down – nocircuit breaker in existence could have protected it. I waslucky to be alive – wow, what a rush that was!Unfortunately, this company did NOT have a disaster recoveryplan. We had to purchase a new computer system and build itback up from scratch. Fortunately, we did keep backups off-site,and within a week or so we were back up and running.And that’s the reason why, now, I have a complete belief andfocus on disaster recovery – if you have a plan and haveprepared well, you will recover just fine (even with theunexpected bumps and such). If you don’t, then you basicallyleave it up to fate or whatever else you believe in. Personally,I would rather be in control of the situation. I find thatmakes things much easier.

Article Tags: Disaster Recovery

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