Understanding Why Disaster Recovery Plans Fail

By Paul Rubens

When Hurricane Sandy struck the Atlantic coast in October 2012, Allied Building Products' data center in New Jersey was submerged in four feet of water in a matter of minutes. The facility was completely wiped out, and it was three months until a new one was up and running.

But Allied had a well-tested and effective disaster recovery/business continuity plan in place. The company's operations were rapidly switched to a SunGard AS disaster recovery facility in Philadelphia. Servers and applications were brought back online, and the company's IT infrastructure continued to operate from there for another three months until they could be switched to the new Allied data center.

Despite exhaustive planning and preparation, the recovery operation wasn't quite perfect, Scott Fisher, Allied's director of IT operations, admits. "There were some things that we hadn't thought seriously enough about, because nobody ever really thinks that a disaster will happen to them. We thought that we would never lose some applications or that we could live without them if they did fail, but it turned out that we really couldn't," he says. 

Fortunately SunGard had sufficient extra hardware at its facility to get these applications up and running anyway, so this turned out to be a non-issue for Allied. But the episode illustrates a simple fact: disaster recovery plans are just that – plans. Which means you can never be completely certain that they will be sufficient to prevent your firm from becoming one of the 43% of companies that, according to Gartner, never reopen following a disaster.

Read the full article at Datamation.

This article was originally published on October 03, 2013