New Zealand Hangover Cure: Coffee with Milk

New Zealanders rising to face the new year after a heady night of celebrations won't have to take their coffee black or choke down their cereal without milk.

New Zealanders rising to face the new year after a heady night of celebrations won't have to take their coffee black or choke down their cereal without milk. Like the rest of this early date-line country, the year-2000 date rollover seems to have gone smoothly at New Zealand Dairy Group, New Zealand's biggest dairy products company.

"We have really had no issues to speak of, regarding Y2K. All of our automation systems and all of our plants are OK and back onto processing milk. We are currently processing [at a rate of] 29 million liters of milk a day," said Wayne O'Halloran, group general manger of information services at New Zealand Dairy Group, in Hamilton, New Zealand.

"The worst-case scenario for us was that we would lose power, and we had contingencies in place to manage that, both for computer systems and manufacturing, but there wasn't even a flicker of a light," O'Halloran said.

In addition to electricity, New Zealand Dairy Group is also a large consumer of natural gas, O'Halloran added, noting that the company has been in constant contact with the energy authority.

"Both [electricity and natural gas] are key energy sources for us, and we've had no issues with either," he said.

As of 3:20 a.m. local time, New Zealand Dairy Group was in the process of bringing its production applications live, after taking them offline, with their servers running, for the transition.

"We closed all of our applications earlier in the evening and backed them up. We then backed all of our databases. Some [applications] have been back up since 1 a.m., and we have had live users with no issues," O'Halloran said.

The company's Internet access, which was disabled for the rollover as a security precaution, remained shut off, and systems managers were debating the exact timing of its resumption.

The company's corporate headquarters rollover crew numbered about 35 at full strength, according to O'Halloran. Throughout New Year's Eve and into New Year's morning, the dairy producer had about 20 IS managers on duty. A senior executive team, on hand for emergency decisions, stood down at 2:00 a.m.

The company runs a combination of Oracle applications and some custom applications with Oracle databases, with some Progress database applications, according to O'Halloran. The company's main servers are Compaq (formerly Digital) Unix systems.

The IS team will continue to bring all applications live and, during the next two days, run tests on the month-end reporting systems that will handle the period ended Dec. 31/Jan 1.

While that routine work continued, the staff on Saturday morning was experiencing some of the natural letdown of having braced for a blow that never came, according to O'Halloran.

"It was quite an interesting feeling going up to midnight. Having gone through it, it's a bit of a downer, really. There's still a lot of work to be done."

New Zealand Dairy Group, in Hamilton, New Zealand, is at http://www.nzdairy.co.nz.

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