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BrokerageAmerica's Blackout Begets Backup: Page 6 of 8

Fave comeback: Part of GM's response to Gates: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, your car would crash for no reason twice a day; the airbag would ask, "Are you sure?" before deploying; and every time a new car is introduced, drivers would have to learn to drive all over again.

It started nearly two years ago, when a telco technician brushed a faulty T1 multiplexer, jarred loose the mux card and took down BrokerageAmerica's WAN. The incident cost BrokerageAmerica more than $100,000 in lost trades over the two-day outage. The firm's executives then signed off on a long-debated plan to move BrokerageAmerica's data center to Internap.

"A disaster changes your mind-set. Unfortunately, that's what sold management" on the collocated data center, says Anthony Martinez, senior vice president and head of BrokerageAmerica's trading operations (he has since left the firm).

The collocation deal with Internap helped launch the first phase of a disaster-recovery strategy, and the electrical fire expedited the company's changeover to the new data center. The next logical step is development of a full-blown disaster-recovery site--the Red Bank, N.J., location will be retrofitted for that purpose.

With the firm's notorious disaster streak, it should be easy to sell management on IT projects like this, right? Not so, Martinez says. It's tough to prove ROI to management, especially for disaster recovery, he says. You can't quantify the bad press that comes with a financial services firm's outage: "The negative PR we got when we were down for six hours was a big deal," he says.