By Sharon Fisher
APRIL 24, 2006
The earthquake that destroyed much of San Francisco 100 years ago last
week wasn't a one-shot disaster. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates
that there's a 62% chance an earthquake similar in scope to the one on
April 18, 1906, will hit the San Francisco Bay area during the next 30
And lest Southern Californians get too sanguine, the probability is
the same for a similarly strong quake there in the same time span.
With that in mind, IT managers at HOB Entertainment Inc. in Hollywood
are discussing whether to replicate the company's data to a remote
facility in Quincy, Wash., where it operates an amphitheater complex.
"It's a great location for collocation," said Adrian Black, manager of
network operations in the department of information systems and
technology at HOB. "That is such a remote location, and we own the
The Quincy facility already houses a T1 line, and a 100Mbit/sec.
Internet connection is about to be installed there, Black said.
HOB, which operates the House of Blues clubs plus other performance
venues, is concerned that an earthquake could cause significant damage
to its headquarters in an 18-story building, Black said. He noted that
the facility houses HOB's central IT operations and that the company's
key financial, accounting, legal and marketing applications are all
run on systems at the site.
Earthquake fears, along with a move by IT manager Sean Anderson to
work remotely in Washington state, triggered Irvine, Calif.-based
Comarco Inc. to build a disaster recovery center in Spokane late last
The decision came about two years after Anderson moved there when his
Southern California home was destroyed by wildfires. "Since I'm up
here and electricity is cheap in Spokane and rental space is cheap, it
made sense," Anderson said.
Once it's completed, the Comarco disaster recovery system will
replicate its mission-critical software, which includes MK Enterprise
ERP software from SSA Global Technologies Inc., data stored on its SQL
Server database, engineering source code and Exchange e-mail data.
Comarco, a provider of wireless products and services, in November
installed a disaster recovery system from DoubleTake Software and is
gradually replicating more and more data.
San Rafael, Calif.-based Costello & Sons Insurance Brokers Inc., which
provides liability insurance for technology firms, has a four-part
disaster recovery method that should provide adequate security to the
company's data in the event of a minor disaster, but not necessarily a
major one, said IT director Steven Perry.
First, the company has redundant servers in its headquarters offices,
and second, all the data is backed up to tape at an off-site location
in a bank vault across San Francisco Bay, Perry said. The third part
of the security plan requires all workers to use removable external
hard drives, while the final disaster recovery system is what Perry
called a "doomsday book" -- a laptop with a 100GB drive and enough
batteries to run the business for about a day. The laptop is taken
off-site each day.
Perry acknowledged that the strategy may not keep the company running
through major disasters. "Most of the stuff I worry about in terms of
real-time recovery are small kinds of disasters," he said, adding that
during "big-time disasters, I tend to think we would be off-line for
more than the amount of time that having instantaneous recovery
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