NBA Team Rebounds From IT Disaster

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After Katrina, the New Orleans Hornets built a stronger disaster-recovery operation: a hot site with a diesel engine big enough to 'power a locomotive.'

When Tod Caflisch joined the New Orleans Hornets as vice president of IT in 2007, the entire pro basketball franchise was returning from a unplanned two-year stay in Oklahoma following Hurricane Katrina. While the team's tenure in Oklahoma City proved a boon for that city's basketball fans, it was a situation no one wanted to repeat.

"It was a crash and burn when the hurricane hit," says Caflisch. Tape backups to an Iron Mountain offsite were the sum total of the IT's disaster preparedness. "Priority number one for me was to put a legitimate business-continuity and disaster-recovery plan in place before the next hurricane."

Caflisch opted for a replicated hot site, created and hosted by Venyu in Baton Rouge, La. "New Orleans is six feet under [sea level], so flooding--and access to facilities because of flooding--was something we had to address," he says. "The sole dependence that was ultimately out of our control was power." Battery backups will buy a data center only so much time. Venyu's site is located close enough to be convenient if the Hornets need to move operations staff to the hot site, and yet far enough away that "there was never a single hurricane that took them both out," Caflisch says.

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