Decision Making

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2004-09-28 Print this article Print

"We started backups at noon," she said, arranging for the backups to be carried by courier to a secure location. Once the plans were underway, the IT staff had to decide which, if any, services to keep running through the hurricane. Eventually, they decided to keep their e-mail and Blackberry servers running. Then they had to decide what to do with one of their most important projects, the US Navys DDX project, a new type of destroyer already being designed.
Northrop Grumman uses TeamCenter Enterprise, a product lifecycle management (PLM) system from UGS, as a collaboration tool to link the efforts of other companies around the country who are working on the design with them.
"We weighed the risks and decided to make the safest decision," Rideout said, which was to shut down the DDX Environment, as the company calls the collaboration effort, even though it was clear that the lost time could be expensive. As Northrop Grummans 350 servers were shut down, each was wrapped in plastic to protect the equipment from any water that might penetrate the data center from leaks or wind damage. Then, the next challenge: how to provide electrical power for the data center so that the servers that would be kept running would have a means to do so. While Northrop Grummans shipyard has its own power plant as is the case with many shipyards, the data center received its power from the local company, Mississippi Power. But Rideout knew they would lose that when the storm hit. "The shipyard leased a generator for us," Rideout said. One problem: the data center needed a power converter before the generator could be used. A last minute call, and an evening FedEx delivery on the eve of the storm solved that problem. But there was a new problem. Shipyard employees couldnt stay. Many were being evacuated; many more had to secure their own homes and their families. All the employees were gone, but someone had to connect the data center to the leased generator, and bring up the servers on generator power. "Some of our employees volunteered to come in Wednesday morning," Rideout said. The employees worked quickly to bring down the e-mail and Blackberry servers, attach the generator, and bring the server back up. Finally, the IT staff was ready for Ivan. Next Page: The hurricane hits.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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