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When Disaster Strikes ...

July 30, 2013

Here's the scenario:  An earthquake or fire cripples the Stanford Data Center, and no one can access core business applications. How long will it take to get the systems that run the university back up and available for use?

The annual AS/ITS Disaster Recovery drill seeks to answer this critical question. Each summer AS and other IT-related organizations on campus participate in an exercise to simulate a major disruption to Stanford’s main data center on campus. The drill enables participants to test their backup systems and emergency procedures in a real-time disaster scenario.

This year's drill, which participants were told could launch at any time between June 19 and Aug. 2, kicked off without warning (just like a real disaster) a little after 3 p.m. on July 18.  

The target recovery time for AS to restore core administrative systems (PeopleSoft and Oracle Financials) in the event of a disaster is two business days. So how did we do in the drill? The AS infrastructure teams had both systems up and running in Stanford's remote auxiliary data center in less than three hours. Reporting components for each system were restored and functional shortly thereafter.

In the event of a real campus disaster, the most immediate priorities will obviously be human safety and security; however, information systems can play a critical role in enabling authorities to identify, communicate with, and support affected populations. The results of this year's Disaster Recovery Drill indicate that Stanford has the ability to quickly bring its core business systems back online, ensuring continuity for administrative operations and support for general campus recovery efforts.

Contact Armand Capote to learn more about AS infrastructure and system recovery.