One year ago this month, a destructive tornado came within just a half mile of Collars and Couplings’ headquarters in West Springfield, Mass. and caused widespread damage throughout the region. As the anniversary of the event approached, Collars put one of the final pieces of its disaster preparedness plan into place and ensured that Mother Nature would never interfere with its customers’ needs.
“We’ve been working on our disaster recovery plan for the better part of five years,” I.T. Manager Dean Johnson said. “One of the last pieces of the puzzle was securing our Prelude server…Collars’ warehouse and distribution application…that’s our most important asset.”
With the virtualization of IBM hardware now available, Collars partnered with a cloud recovery service called Data Storage Corporation. Each night, Collars backs up its server to DSC’s cloud and, in turn, protects the company’s ability to conduct business in the event of a server failure. “If a server failed or a disaster wiped out our facilities, we can be up and running within four hours,” Johnson said. Before working with DSC, it would take four to five days.”
The company’s network is also virtualized, so if the Windows servers ever crashed, employees would be able to access the network remotely. “That’s been in effect for three years,” he said.
A ‘True Disaster Recovery Plan’
In addition to the cloud recovery service, Collars contracts with Agility Recovery Service to provide turn-key disaster relief in the form of electrical power, work space, phone and Internet service. According to Johnson, if Collars declared an emergency, Agility would be on site within 24 hours with a full-size trailer outfitted with 24 workstations, PCs, servers, satellite and telephone service and a generator. The trailer would provide a temporary place for Collars to conduct business while their headquarters was repaired or rebuilt. “If the damage is significant and we needed a long-term solution, Agility will also work with local real estate agents to help find temporary space where businesses can operate,” Johnson said.
“It’s a true disaster recovery plan.”