Technical Solutions Architect Prepares for Disaster

This week was interesting. The place at which I spend many minutes had a disaster. There was an explosion below the street, causing one unfortunate soul incredible burns, and an entire block the loss of power. Some residents nearby were without heat for over twenty four hours. That’s not good if you live in a winterizes place.

The place I spend many minutes were incredibly equipped to deal with the disaster. They have a DRP appropriate for their size and focus. We had PC’s to work on in another facility within 120 minutes. The PC’s were not equipped with the software which most of us needed, but we were able to spend some minutes doing something productive in most cases. Two departments were sent home, as there were only so many PC’s, and only so much spare space.

In contrast, there were vandals who were also disgruntled employees of a large tenant company in the same building in which I spend many minutes. They decided to use the fire hoses on the top floor and play games by filling the stair wells with water to express their discontent. Their employer decided to only pay them for a small portion of the day of pay they lost for that same electrical interruption. With only four weeks before Christmas, and being paid only marginal amounts over minimum wage, can you see the point of aggravation?

Now all companies affected must pay an insurance company to clean up their messes in offices that span the building, and the insurance company gets to collect several premiums because all tenants affected must pay, and the restoration company will pretend that they can do all of the work and make things right. And, next year and for the next five, all of these affected companies will get to pay some rich insurance companies extra premiums for bad experience.

Do I sound facicious here? I definitely am being so, as I have been the victim of water damage once and had to use that same restoration company. Believe me – you don’t ever want to encounter this so go right home and make sure you have the bullet-proof hoses on your washing machines, buy a water beetle and hook it up to your alarm system, and definitely ensure that the little birdies outside aren’t making nests in your bathroom vents so that vents are forced open and pipes may freeze.

Also – I am facicious because I have seen that tenant who employs the vandals exploit their staff, vendors and suppliers. If they would have coughed up the dough to pay a full days’ pay, or had a disaster recovery plan to enable the workers to do something else productive, none of that would have happened.

I continue my attitude as I had dinner with colleagues the day following the incident. We all shared work experiences and customer stories of the places in which we are spending many minutes. I found it humorous, then aggravating that one was spending two years of a client’s money creating a DRP and they still didn’t really get the point. Most companies who embark on DRP’s shouldn’t really call them that. They should call them their “how to get my technology all up and running”. Most have limited budgets and cannot begin to create a plan to recover everything. What about the business?

Why bother? Is everything that important?

Is the little system that your company uses to catalog the books in your IT library, or the research reports employees create when they really should be doing something else important? Yes – these things are great to have, if you actually had a reason for creating them, but is more than a back up really that important.

You knew I’d eventually get back to Architecture – I always do. I eat sleep and breathe the stuff. A great EA can completely replace the need for the kind of DRP these companies think they need. If your business functions are well (and I don’t mean completely) documented, and you know which ones you need to keep the $ rolling through the doors, and what their priorities are, why spend the equivalent of three or four peoples salaries in a year paying a consultant or two to write you a plan to recover everything you have as fast as you can? Believe me, some stuff can wait, and a backup of the data is likely sufficient.

If you need to get help on a DRP plan, I suggest you find someone who understands the concept well. If you want to completely document your technical architecture, good for you, but tying it to the recovery plan will only delay the process. The two should be separate endeavours and it should be pretty easy to figure out which one comes first. Key word is should.

There – the satiristical side of me. I promise to behave next time out – this was a tough week to feel productive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Connect with Facebook