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People-Planning Critical to DR

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Storage Networking World (SNW) -- Effective disaster recovery is about much more than data replication, failover strategies, and backup tapes. This was the warning from IT managers and CIOs in the sunshine state this week, who warned that users should not forget the all-important human aspect in their disaster recovery plans.

"Your staff is very, very important," warned Glenn Exline, manager of advanced technology at defense contractor Raytheon Co. , during a keynote this morning. "When you're planning for something like a hurricane you have to make sure that your staff is prepared to deal with it, not only at work, but in the home as well," he said.

The exec, who is responsible for IT systems support at Patrick Air Force base in Florida, home to the 45th Space Wing, used his keynote to describe the human impact of a hurricane. "For us, the biggest challenge would be if, god forbid, a category three or a category four came ashore, and we lose a lot of the infrastructure -- people are struggling to come into work."

Other attendees urged users to make meticulous plans for both their staff and their IT systems. "You have to plan for these human assets," added Clif Morgan, the former technical support manager at Oxford University Press, now a director for managed services firm Citadel Perimeter. "You have to document the system to the extent that it can be brought up by somebody else."

Over in Minneapolis, Randy Pool, senior engineer at Northwest Airlines, agreed that documentation is key, warning that IT managers should expect the worst. "You need to have the playbook [written] down -- you have to assume that there are no survivors."

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