New Operations Center
Although the time frame for physical cleanup of Frances is impossible to predict, Taylor said he is confident that Floridas central operations can be restored in a matter of weeks in a worst-case scenario. Others preparing the state for a lockdown, such as Joel Haas, CEO of the Orlando-based American Red Cross of Central Florida, said he fears that old 15-ton trees and other debris already loosened by Charley could become dangerous if the slow-footed Frances lashes at the state for nearly 24 hours, as forecasters expect. "Trees still standing are loosened by Charley. If [Frances] stays on the same track its on, were going to have more trees down. In Orange County alone, Charley caused 2 million cubic yards of downed tees and rubble. The destruction is just huge," Haas said.Haas said Charley might have helped the American Red Cross have a better understanding of what it can expect from communications infrastructure. "The phone of choice, if you can get your hands on one, is satellite phones because a cell phone is not reliable. What we learned from Charley was that cell phones arent of much use when the antennas get ripped off the cell phone towers," he said. To help remedy the problem, Haas said cell phone companies responded by bringing in portable towers to temporarily restore cell phone service. IT vendors such as Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett Packard Co. and Round Rock, Texas-based Dell Inc. are also closely monitoring the path of Frances to help ensure customers that their enterprise systems are not at risk. Click here to read about continuity lessons learned from last years major power blackout, which affected six states. Belinda Wilson, executive director of HPs Business Continuity Services for the Americas, HP Services, says her department has already been put "on alert" by eight customers located in Miami, Boca Raton, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Titusville. If any of those customers declares the need for help, HP can take immediate action to recover and migrate customers data to a virtualized server and data center infrastructure environment at one of its safe, off-site facilities. For its part, Dell has been monitoring Frances via its Enterprise Command Center on its campus. The center keeps watch over the Americas for any activity that may impact customers and their assets. Along with Frances, the center has been keeping a close eye on activity surrounding the Republican National Convention, said Jan Uhrich, vice president of Dells enterprise support services. To keep one step ahead of the slow-footed Frances, Dell has taken steps to review its entire parts and product inventory in areas that may be affected by the storm by zooming into specific ZIP codes of install bases. Ground forces and resources in those areas have already been briefed and given information on nearby enterprise customers and what systems theyre running, should they need any parts moved on the fly. Those parts can include servers, SAN (storage area network) components, workstations and switches. Check out eWEEK.coms Infrastructure Center at http://infrastructure.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
To prepare and create a new operations center for Frances, the American Red Cross unit of Central Florida was forced to move its still-active Charley operations centeroffering care, feeding and caseworkto a nearby Methodist church auditorium. By Saturday, Haas said 30 shelters running 24 hours a day will be open and must remain active until they are no longer required.