“It’s a ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ sort of thing.” Anite Networks managing director, Tom Meijer, has every reason to be smug, but instead he’s simply relieved. Over a year ago he approved a plan for Anite Networks, an outsourcing specialist, to install a power generator system.
“Power Hire, who sold us the generator set, knew Mercury’s network was dodgy 18 months ago.” On Sunday evening, when many other central Auckland businesses were scrambling to maintain power, Meijer and his team were putting the finishing touches to a review of their disaster recovery plan. Today, Anite has twice the power it needs to maintain business as usual for an office of around 60 people.
The decision to install a generator was not an easy one, says Meijer.
“We decided to launch a programme called Sentinel to remotely monitor our customers’ networks.” Meijer decided it was time to stop being reactive and become pro-active.
“Our customers were going to rely on us keeping a vigilant eye on their networks.” For Meijer, that meant 24-hours a day, seven days a week guaranteed power. The only way he could ensure that happening was with a generator.
“We determined we would need a pretty hefty UPS but even more so an incredibly hefty, and might I say expensive, generator set.” Meijer decided to purchase a generator set that would not only provide back-up services for his clients’ networks, but also ensure the Anite Auckland office would be able to function as normal. The generator Meijer purchased has enough capacity to run double Anite’s normal daily demand.
“We could run the neon sign out front of our building if wanted to, but decided we’d switch it off. The only things we missed were the lights in the toilets and the stairwell.” That oversight has since been rectified.
Anite staff monitor the generator every 15 minutes to make sure everything is functioning within acceptable levels.
“Every morning they cut the power to our building and the UPS kicks in.
The generator kicks in 10 seconds after that with no disruption to our supply.” According to Meijer when the power comes back on the UPS should cycle up and the generator will power down, avoiding any potentially dangerous spikes or surges in the supply.
A priority for Anite during this crisis has been communication with its customers. With more than 200 customers relying on Anite having power staff were busy calling and faxing clients to keep them up to date on Anite’s situation.
“We have updates on our Web site and a link to Mercury Energy’s home page,” says Meijer. Meijer has also faxed clients with a list of company cellphone numbers in the event that Anite’s PABX system shuts down. Finally, just to be completely safe, all outstanding transactions are being printed out on paper as they are entered into the system as the ultimate failsafe measure.
“As part of our planning a year and a half ago, I took a very broad approach to disaster recovery and spent quite a bit of time thinking it through.” Meijer says Anite spent “quite a bit of money not knowing whether it would be needed or not.” In retrospect, Meijer says it was money more than well spent.