Disaster preparedness is a well-known best practice in running a data center, but Hurricane Sandy is showing that in disasters, the unexpected happens. When it does, some disaster recovery plans turn out to have holes in them, while others may still require improvisation.
In lower Manhattan, Peer1 Hosting used a bucket brigade to replenish fuel for diesel generators on the 18th floor after pumps and the elevator broke down. In New Jersey, SunGard rerouted fuel trucks to avoid flooded intersections.
Even SunGard, a specialist in disaster recovery, had its own brush with disaster when a river levee broke in Carlstadt, N.J. It had three data centers in the nearby vicinity. They had been built on raised floors on what little high ground was available in the region and all three ended up avoiding the rising waters that crept up the margins of the site and into its parking lots. And then there was the issue with the fuel trucks.
On the whole, the disaster plan worked as expected and the SunGard facilities continued operating continuously. But afterward, no one claimed that the plan had foreseen every challenge or didn’t require a little improvisation along the way.
See Hurricane Sandy: Disaster Recovery Improv Tales, by Charles Babcock for InformationWeek.