Storage User Blackout Diary: Research firm rethinks shutdown process

As part of our Storage User Blackout Diary series, SearchStorage.com asked several users affected by this month's power outage in the Northeast and Canada to give us a first-hand look into how they kept their systems and data online when the lights went out.

As Chief Technology Officer for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a New York-based research firm that provides information to the investment community, Mark Naman had to be on his toes to maintain availability now and avoid insanity later.

The Gerson Lehrman Group provides its list of more than 300 clients with information through a network of 40,000 professionals in multiple industries. Gerson Lehrman connects institutional investment managers with technology experts. The firm doesn't do investment banking, recommend stocks or manage money; it's strictly an information provider. Knowledge may be power in a figurative sense, but you can't run a data center on brain waves.

What would you do differently next time? Are you making any adjustments to your DR/BC plans as a result of the outage?
I would have an automatic shut down set up for the servers if they go to UPS power, so if it happens in the middle of the night, they would still shut down correctly.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail: Kevin Komiega, News Editor

Blackout report card: Some pass, others fail

How data centers protect against power outages

Comment on our storage discussion forums on the IT Knowledge Exchange

What was your initial reaction when the power went out? Where were you when it happened?
I was outside the server room making copies. My initial reaction was to get our network administrator and begin bringing down the servers. How did your company fare during the power outage? Were your systems impacted? Did you experience any data loss?
We experienced no data loss. Our servers stayed up and running on UPS and we were able to effectively shut them down correctly. Did you have a disaster recovery/business continuity plan in place? If so, did it work as planned?
Everything went as planned. The network administrator knew what to do in the case of power outage -- and he did it. Does your company test its DR/BC plans for events like blackouts?
No.

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