Hurricane Hits

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

Ivan struck Pascagoula at 1:00AM. By then Rideout had evacuated to Dallas, Texas, to wait out the storm. Dallas is the site of one of Northrop Grummans major data centers. She knew that if it was necessary, e-mail and Blackberry services could be moved there, as could the other functions normally done at the shipyard.
Fortunately, it wasnt necessary.
Ivan struck land east of the shipyard, resulting in less wind than there might have been. Rideout knew this might be the case because of information received ahead of time from ImpactWeather. But she couldnt take a chance. Click here to read more about how the New York trading exchange stayed in business before, during and after Sept. 11, 2001. The storm had passed by midday Thursday. Rideout headed back from Dallas knowing that commercial power wouldnt be available for several days. Because of this, the IT staff connected the entire data center to the emergency generator, and one by one, brought the servers on line. The data center was alive, and even though it might take some shipyard employees a while to get back to work, at least theyd have IT services available when they did. Then, at 9:00PM, the generator failed. Working late into the night, shipyard electricians and IT staffers switched the data center over to the shipyards power plant. "Its not as clean as Mississippi Power," Rideout noted, but it was better than no power at all. Sunday, Mississippi Power restored its service to the shipyard, and everything was back to normal, or as normal as it can be for an area that demonstrates what getting hit by a massive storm is like. Rideout said that the shipyard actually had very little damage, except for the occasional broken window and subsequent rain and wind damage in isolated areas. "We absolutely prepared for the worst," Rideout said, reflecting on the preparations, "We were very lucky." Clearly, Rideout, the IT staff, and Northrop Grumman had a big role in making their own luck.

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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