I have an expectation, and optimism, that information will emerge from New Orleans and be placed into sufficient context to grow into something like an updated, and useful, Conventional Wisdom.
I suffered a minor setback today.
Consider for a moment this WaPo article Backups Enabled Systems to Survive: Data Protection Paid Off After Katrina
Our Hero in this little vignette is:
"...interim technology manager Rajeev Jain [who] entered the building not knowing what to expect. The ground floor of the New Orleans school system headquarters was under three inches of water, and when he headed upstairs, he saw that the fourth-floor ceiling was damaged and leaking."So far so, so good. Rajeev Jain, undoubtedly doing his job, was surveying the damage to the school system HQ. He then
"...hailed police to sledgehammer through a locked door."and therein lies the fickle finger of fate pointed by Lady Luck who, on that day at least, was smiling favorably on Rajeev Jain.
"He found what he was looking for in a storage closet: 170 dry and apparently undamaged computer backup tapes storing recently updated payroll records and other critical financial information."What possible "incompetence" could this happy scenario demonstrate?
Rajeev Jain should never have gone looking, nor needed to summon police to sledgehammer through a locked storeroom door, in the flooded, water dripping from the-damaged 4th-floor ceiling, school system HQ. Those computer backup tapes storing recently updated payroll records and other critical financial information should never have been in a storage closet in the school HQ. They should have been stored well outside the range of any disaster that might reasonably be expected to befall the school system HQ. Had this been a simple fire, or had the roof collapsed and wiped out Our Little Storeroom, Rajeev Jain would be sweating bullets and wondering how he was going to answer some very pointed questions from some irate people.
Lest you doubt my word for this:
"Government institutions and large companies generally had adequate backup systems in place and data-recovery contracts with firms such as IBM to help rescue damaged data tapes and rebuild software systems. The best-prepared had backup files stored on computers outside the hurricane zone." (emphasis mine)Although storing backup files "on computer systems" is a function of how quickly one needs to achieve recovery. Storing backup files "in adequately protected facilities outside the hurricane zone" would be sufficient for some cases.
Perhaps I come across as a grump here, but I've lived through this and counting on the storage closet to protect irreplaceable assets, electronic or otherwise, is not a good idea.