I thought this story might be of interest to some of you. I am summarizing the parts that I think of most interest to AS/400 community, and folks who might want to review OUR disaster recovery plans. It is a year after Katrina, and some disaster recovery plans are being reflected upon. In my area, the high risk of disaster is not from hurricane, but tornado, earthquake, epidemic, terrorism, which impacts proximity of other sites for backup recovery, and what needs to be backed up.

Vacuum Cleaner manufacturer Oreck Corp had their HQ in New Orleans and their primary manufacturing 70 miles away, so their warm site was also in the Katrina damage zone. The day before Katrina hit, the staff was scrambling to backup their AS/400 (it took 12 hours to make 2 backups), which the CEO (an experienced pilot) flew to their hot site in Boulder CO. The AS/400 administrator also went there. While the disaster recovery plan worked perfectly for the AS/400, they had failed to include in the plan, provisions for the Intel-based systems, still in New Orleans.

That meant they had no way to communicate with their 1,500 employees scattered across the nation. It was also hard to get some things for disaster recovery, since they were competing with FEMA etc.
* electric generators to operate factories until public utilities restored
* RVs for dislocated employees to live in

When the disaster hit, they were in the middle of a conversion how they doing their supply chain. Once the factory back in operation in the Katrina ravaged area, they orchestrating delivery of materials over roads still clogged with debris.

Lessons learned
* 48 hours in advance of bad storm is not enough time to prepare
* Determine how you will communicate even if circuits are destroyed or overwhelmed
* Pre-arrange a safe place where you can re-establish a command center
* Make it known that you will take care of your people and their families
* Include the recovery of your second tier systems in your disaster recovery plan
* Prepare for transportation disruptions / delays

http://www.managingautomation.com/maonline/magazine/read/Caught_in_a_Vacuum_11993115



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