Woodchucks and disaster planning

Summary:A woodchuck family took up living under our deck. A supplier of household hardware was "down for maintenance" during normal business hours. Does the hardware company understand that to Web users, they're out of business when their website is down?

A cute family of woodchucks took up residence under our deck. Whenever one of these little critters took a stroll in the yard or on the deck, our cat jumped to the window and made all types of noise. I assume he wanted to play with them. More likely, he wanted to invite them to be the guest of honor at dinner.

When I visited a well-known household hardware store's website while seeking a humane way to ask the woodchuck family to move on to the nearby woods, I was surprised to find that the company's website was down for "maintenance" in the middle of normal business hours.

Going out of business

While I know that this company is in the business of selling tools, building materials, flooring, appliances and the like and not in the computer business, I don't think that their management team really thinks about the consequences of being off the air during normal business hours. It's as if they allowed their company to go out of business.

I have no idea how much revenue they lost during that outage or how many customers merely went down the network to purchase from one of their competitors. It is clear, however, that either they didn't have plans to prevent potential outages or their plans weren't adequate to deal with whatever problems appeared.

Planning for outages

A company website, like other critical IT systems, can be made to survive the loss of systems, storage, networks and even whole data centers. It requires careful planning and provisioning layers of software and hardware to deal with or prevent outages from occurring.

If the company in question had asked any hardware supplier, such as IBM, HP, or Dell, or any software supplier, such as Oracle, Microsoft, or VMware, systems could have been put in place so that customers and potential customers would never see an outage.

Analysis

The worldwide web is a very important worldwide marketplace. Why would a company "shut its doors" and encourage customers to buy elsewhere? Was the lack of adequate disaster recovery planning due to management thinking that IT wasn't its primary business and not making the proper investment? Did the company invest in plans, but failed in execution?

In the end, all that matters is that customers, like me, simply went down the network and purchased from other suppliers.

Topics: Outage

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He is responsible for research, publications, and operations. Mr. Kusnetzky has been involved with information technology since the late 1970s. Mr. Kusnetzky has been responsible for research operations at the 451 Group; corporate and... Full Bio

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