The Recovery Process

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2004-11-29 Print this article Print

That smoky Friday morning, CDW didnt disappoint. Officials were on the scene and by the following Monday morning, CDW had replaced all Mars servers and end-user PCs and reinstalled the network without a glitch.

At the heart of the recovery process was Mars off-site single-tape Sony S-AIT drive backup system, which Davidson employed CDW to help facilitate one month before the fire. Davidson had upgraded from an on-site tape library. Going forward, CDW is helping Mars plan to move from tape-based backup to hot-site replication using HP technology.

With existing data in hand, CDW was ready to deliver new servers and desktops. But thats not all. The company was also ready to help Davidson design a brand-new server room, among other upgrades.

All that work fell partly on the shoulders of Brad Bellew, a storage systems engineer at CDW. "We got a wish list from Bill. [We asked], If you had your dream environment, what would that include?" said Bellew. "From our view, that meant what applications are critical, what could be deployed faster and what did we have in stock that could be delivered on Saturday to start rebuilding the data center."

For example, Mars decided to consolidate its servers from 45 to 15. Davidson estimates the move will save the company about $250,000. As a bonus, it allowed the agency to boost the speed of setting up an identical new virtual server via EMC Corp.s VMware technology.

CDW shipped HP servers, some 250 HP desktops and 50 Apple Computer Inc. Macintosh systems to Mars, and they were installed with the assistance of CDW over the weekend.

Soon to follow was Internet connectivity, Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory coming online, and eventually the rebuilding of file servers against tape and reconstruction of the agencys SAN (storage area network).

Despite a minimal data loss after the local power company blew a transformer and abruptly shut off power to Mars shortly after the rebuild, Davidson credits his companys impressive turnaround after the fire to CDWs decisiveness.

"The bulk of everything we needed came that weekend immediately. We had a plan, and CDW came through. It was the best IT experience Ive had in my career," Davidson said.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from CIO Insight.

Brian Fonseca is a senior writer at eWEEK who covers database, data management and storage management software, as well as storage hardware. He works out of eWEEK's Woburn, Mass., office. Prior to joining eWEEK, Brian spent four years at InfoWorld as the publication's security reporter. He also covered services, and systems management. Before becoming an IT journalist, Brian worked as a beat reporter for The Herald News in Fall River, Mass., and cut his teeth in the news business as a sports and news producer for Channel 12-WPRI/Fox 64-WNAC in Providence, RI. Brian holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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