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Disaster Recovery: Test, Test and Test Some More

As Hurricane Katrina proved, a DR plan is worthless unless it's tested thoroughly.

When New Orleans law firm Chaffe McCall L.L.P. was hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, network administrator James Zeller was in for an unpleasant awakening. Having learned to live with hurricanes, Zeller thought he was prepared for any eventuality. His disaster recovery (DR) plan was simple and, he thought, effective. With a smaller office in Baton Rouge, LA, and backup tapes stored in an offsite location, the law office's DR plan called for restoring data and applications in Baton Rouge and conducting business with users connected remotely.

Zeller never tested Chaffe McCall's DR plan and its post-Katrina recovery was stymied by one surprise after another. Underpowered servers running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT Server 4.0 were unable to run apps requiring Windows Server 2000 or 2003; and the lack of suitable tape drives in the recovery site, as well as the inability of the infrastructure in Baton Rouge to cope with the increased computing and network load, brought the business to a grinding halt. Unable to procure servers due to high post-hurricane demand for hardware, Zeller rushed to purchase and configure high-end desktops to run his apps. After a strenuous week, business returned to something approaching normal with one cruel lesson learned: An untested DR plan isn't worth the paper it's printed on.


Jacob Gsoedl
Storage Magazine
13 Sep 2006
01 Sep 2006
12  Page(s)
Journal Article

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