An education in disaster

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2005-10-03 Print this article Print

recovery"> Kevin, there has been a lot of interesting discussion about the response of higher education to the Katrina disaster, in terms of the speed and flexibility that schools have shown in developing arrangements for the students of affected schools. Have you been privy to any discussions about how to respond to such a situation?

Baradet: I just saw eight students from Tulane University meander down the hall past my office. I think weve taken in a couple of faculty and Ph.D. students as well.

Has there been any impact on your network as of this time, in terms of new people showing up and having to be rapidly assimilated?

Baradet: Were used to 300 or 400 people showing up within a day or two at the beginning of the semester and having to run them through the system. So eight is nothing.

Over two weeks ago, there were some guys running a network operations center in New Orleans who stayed through it all. They stayed up and stayed on and had a blog and a Web cam and an IRC [Internet Relay Chat] channel open. I watched that for a good part of the weekend.

It was pretty interesting. They were fairly well-prepared, but there were a whole bunch of things that they really didnt think about. They had a huge generator, but [it] was on the ninth floor of the parking structure, and they had to roll 55-gallon drums of diesel fuel through the parking ramp to fuel the generator.

The other thing they didnt think about was a place to sleep, so they were sleeping on server boxes. After a couple of days, they realized they didnt have any clean clothes, and they were also wishing for some chemical toilets. Food and water wasnt the problem—it was the other things.

Next Page: No news is bad news.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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