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Ask Slashdot: How To Evacuate a Network

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the bring-the-fire-extinguishers dept.

Network 331

First time accepted submitter gpowers writes "I am the IT Manager for Shambhala Mountain Center, near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. We are in the pre-evacuation area for the High Park Fire. What is the best way to load 50+ workstations, 6 servers, IP phones, networking gear, printers and wireless equipment into a 17-foot U-Haul? We have limited packing supplies. We also need to spend as much time as possible working with the fire crew on fire risk mitigation."

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Insurance policy? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354083)

Get one?

Re:Insurance policy? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354441)

Doesn't cover pre-existing conditions (fire).

Uh... (5, Funny)

memoreks (1172021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354085)

Quickly?

Re:Uh... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354109)

Off Site Disaster Recovery and Fire Insurance?

Re:Uh... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354229)

Offsite backup at the very least. Save your data and your people, and let the insurance company take care of the hardware. Loss of productivity is a problem, but you're going to have that anyway.

Re:Uh... (5, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354479)

Offsite backup at the very least. Save your data and your people, and let the insurance company take care of the hardware. Loss of productivity is a problem, but you're going to have that anyway.

Mod parent AC up, please. Spending time on emptying buildings of hardware which should be insured anyhow is in the best case stupid, and could even be hazardous - if it holds up evacuating the area of humans as much as a minute, it's criminal sabotage of an evacuation.
You're not even supposed to grab your coat when a building is evacuated. Much less hardware.

Re:Uh... (5, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354601)

You're not even supposed to grab your coat when a building is evacuated. Much less hardware.

That's when it's an emergency.

This is more like: "There'll be an emergency a couple of hours from now..."

Triage and Labels (5, Informative)

billstewart (78916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354293)

Log off Slashdot before reading this :-)

If you've got labeling stuff around, use it (not fancy label makers, just the basic "Hello My Name Is" and a Sharpie.)

Grab the servers, grab the workstation bodies, grab the phones and anything else that's easily portable, and any backup media you've got. Unfortunately, rack-mounted equipment is usually harder to grab, but that's probably your most expensive and critical stuff. And it'll be your critical path, so start unbolting it first. All of that will fit, put it in first, braced as well as you can.

Monitors and keyboards are nice, but they're just money, not data. Grab a few of them, but leave the rest for last. If you have packing material left, great, but if not you'll just have some breakage. If you've got any CRTs, leave them, they're heavy.

Re:Triage and Labels (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354777)

dont unbolt the parts it's time wasted and it will make transporting the lot easily while in rack with a buggy ..
just unwire the rack and take it out as a whole .if the cat 5's are landed at punchhed patch panels
you may be able to remove the cabling in large chunks without causing too much damage if any.

computers ? same as above. just take the stations and put them in large bins..If you got an apple producer
of similar large produce cases you may be able to fit all computers in one box which again is handy because
it keeps things together and the screens in the second box . Dont waste time on kb's mice etc unless you have a
lot of time on your hands..

get the heck out and keep people safe is first
hardware comes last.
it's useless to dead people

ric.

Re:Uh... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354535)

Wow, way to plan for disaster. You should already have had the systems transfered either to a clowd or to your remote site. If you do not you've failed.

So what this gentleman says is correct. If you've not labeled everything including cables and have detailed drawings of the installations wiring you've failed.

So what you do is get out your label maker and tools, shut it all down and label everything. Then pack it as best you can in the truck. You can expect 30-40 percent startup failure when you get them installed and attempt a startup.

You might just want to consider building your next IT center in a shipping container that can be detached and loaded on to a semi. Done properly your UPS and AC systems would keep them alive until you could get to an alternate location with power and network which you should already have contracted for in advance.

Re:Uh... (5, Insightful)

TemplePilot (2035400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354743)

You might just want to consider building your next IT center in a shipping container that can be detached and loaded on to a semi. Done properly your UPS and AC systems would keep them alive until you could get to an alternate location with power and network which you should already have contracted for in advance.

Nods, and seconded... motion to carry.

Re:Uh... (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354583)

Quickly?

Yeah, just get them in the van.

As fast as possible. Too late to make fancy plans now.

At most you can sketch a floorplan and number them with a sharpie as you grab them.

WTF kind of question is this (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354091)

Seriously... you're a geek... use your own imagination. This question is just plain idiotic. Not that it's any surprise that it would be on Slashdot these days....

Welll... (5, Insightful)

Dieppe (668614) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354093)

Less posting to Slashdot would be step 1...

Re:Welll... (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354147)

Take the hard disks and RUN!

Re:Welll... (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354157)

And leave all of the Mountain Dew behind. When the fire hits, they will heat up, explode and smother the flames.

YES! Save only hard drives (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354275)

1. label all hard drives. Drive position, and server.
2. place hard drives in anti-static bags
3. pack drives in foam.
4. get drives far, far away.

Hard drives are both the most valuable, and the most fragile part. Do not load them in a stiff suspension vehicle like a truck, as this bounces the drives. Choose a soft-suspension normal car.

Next take servers and network gear. Desktops are a maybe, as are phones. Ignore printers.

Tape a piece of cardboard over the face of an LCD monitor to protect it from casual bumps.

Above all, no data is worth a human life. No heroics. You're not paid for heroics.

Re:YES! Save only hard drives (3, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354655)

Hard drives are both the most valuable, and the most fragile part. Do not load them in a stiff suspension vehicle like a truck, as this bounces the drives. Choose a soft-suspension normal car.

I know someone who uses a Citroen Xantia estate with the hydraulic suspension modified to be slightly softer than normal for moving delicate optical instruments. It just comes down to a little adjustment of sphere pressure and damper ports.

Even unmodified, if the suspension is in good condition you can't even feel speed humps at 60mph, just hear the "ba-dunk" as you go over them.

Re:YES! Save only hard drives (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354713)

label all hard drives. Drive position, and server.

In a "server room" situation, wouldn't the HDDs be in rack-mounted trays? If so, just take the trays. In fact, *only* take the server and HDD trays.

Everything else can be replaced from fire insurance. (You are backing up all the workstation data to servers, right?

Re:YES! Save only hard drives (4, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354747)

Ignore printers.

Most printers ought to die in a fire anyways. Now he might actually get to see it happen!

Re:Welll... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354221)

pretty much. Dude really doesnt have that much inventory...

Prioritize (5, Insightful)

Ravensfire (209905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354097)

Pack what's critical first. Servers. Critical networking gear. Workstations. Ignore the phones, printers and wireless gear unless you've got extra time. And good luck.

Re:Prioritize (3, Insightful)

jvillain (546827) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354249)

I have to agree prioritizing is key. Fires are live creatures and can go from bad to disastrous in a flash. Get the data first which includes databases, file servers etc.

When it comes to packing if you have limited packing supplies focus on the most critical and hard to replace stuff first. If you don't have enough stuff to package every thing then at least make sure that nothing can move around or fall over in the truck. All most every thing is built tough enough to handle a trip down even a mountain road as long as you drive slow and stuff isn't falling over and rubbing against each other. Every thing can be a packing supply. Coats, boxes. blankets, carpet, string, rope, cables etc.

Good luck and if you feel up to it give us an update when you are done.

Prioritize efficiently. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354321)

Make sure you have off site backups of everything needed to reconstruct your network.

After that it really doesn't matter. Either you can move everything out in time or you cannot. If you cannot then you move the people and forget the gear.

Just like in the fire drills for almost every other company out there.

Re:Prioritize efficiently. (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354493)

Make sure you have off site backups of everything needed to reconstruct your network.

At this point that would a "shoulda done" thing. I'm guessing since he's asking, they don't have a clue. Hopefully you practiced proper source control/workstation backups. Grab the servers and place them in a car(s). After that, the most important workstations, any truly expensive pieces of networking gear, and then whatever else you can. Realize anything in the U-Haul may not survive the trip, even with packing material.

Re:Prioritize efficiently. (4, Insightful)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354699)

Personally I wouldn't take anything unless it is 100% un-replaceable (discontinued systems and since-last-offisite-transfer backups). Remember, your insurance will (if the person that negotiated it wasn't a complete moron) cover ALL hardware that is caught in the fire, they might NOT cover hardware that you broke in the U-Haul truck while trying to save it. You should already have offsite backups, so at the most you should save the "didn't make it to offsite yet" recent backups (1 day to 1 week's worth depending on your setup). For everything else: let it burn, that's what you pay those high insurance premiums for! If your insurance company doesn't like that plan, THEY can move it out of the f*$ing building.

Re:Prioritize (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354367)

Pack what's critical first. Servers. Critical networking gear. Workstations. Ignore the phones, printers and wireless gear unless you've got extra time. And good luck.

Quick-disconnect hard drives. Everything else can be replaced by insurance, but your data can't. With what you've got listed above, I could hike out with your company in my backpack. The other thing is, consider the health and safety in your disaster recovery plan -- you should not expect, nor ask, your employees to stay until the last possible moment packing in equipment. Equipment can be replaced... lives cannot. Nobody should ever risk their life for an inanimate object in a business environment.

The other thing is, you should have a disaster recovery plan that includes regular backups to an offsite facility. Any disaster plan should be able to cope with "and then a giant foot appeared above the building and squished it flat." Yours should be no different. It might not be a wild fire that threatens your servers... it could be a UPS that shorts out, or a tornado, flood, a failed fire suppression unit, or simple human incompetence (Yes, I've seen stupidity kill buildings).

Any plan that relies on people staying in danger to save your business unethical, immoral, and probably illegal. So save what you can reasonably and without risk take, in descending order of importance... but recognize that there may be situations in which the only solution is to exit the building at a dead run and not look back.

Re:Prioritize (4, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354389)

Right idea, missing a detail. Get your data and hard to replace equipment (e.g. custom orders, long lead time, no longer available) first. That may be servers, or just the HD's from them. After that, everything that is replaceable can be picked based upon it's value, size, ease of removal, and available space. If you have to take workstation HDs, try to get one of each model of workstation so you have at least one machine that you know will work with that HD. It's not critical, but it can save you some effort if the facility does burn. Most networking gear, phones, workstations, etc. are easily replaceable, don't mess with them until the more important stuff is out.

And most importantly, DO NOT WAIT until you receive the evac order, start packing at least 24 hours before an evac is likely. I don't care what management says about taking down the network early, your data and your lives are far more valuable than an extra day working.

Re:Prioritize (3, Insightful)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354569)

Pack what's critical first. Servers. Critical networking gear. Workstations. Ignore the phones, printers and wireless gear unless you've got extra time. And good luck.

I agree. But I would prioritize slightly differently:

1. Make sure all non-critical staff are gone, and are well informed of what's going on -- where they can contact people for further information, etc. (People)
1a. Whlie you're talking to them, ask the managers of departments -- off the record, of course -- if there are any department specific, hidden fileservers that need evac. I haven't worked in an office yet that didn't have at least one.
2. Make sure all backups are offsite, preferably in a dry, fireproof safe someplace. Ideally this step happened years back, and you can roll your eyes at this one, but lets be honest -- it didn't and you can't. (Data)
3. Disconnect servers from their racks. Any data storage stuff in there takes priority. (More Data)
4. Rack mounted servers go next (Servers)
5. The rest of the server room as time allows (Networking gear)

Anything after this is probably stuff you can skip, assuming you have good fire insurance. If you don't, welp. Honestly, start thinking like a thief, prioritize things that are expensive:

Harddrives are good to try, but it's easier to just pull the towers. Aim for any high end workstations -- the secretary's machine probably shouldn't go (but be aware that they may not have followed your server file storage and there may be data on that workstation not on the server), but the guys back in marketing? Maybe that top of the line workstation with the 30" monitor may need a second look. As mentioned above, many companies will have unofficial servers hidden around or local backups of department specific stuff, make sure you ask around if you have time to see if there's a file cabinet that needs placed on a dolly.

In an absolute pinch, just use wire cutters to disconnect workstations and get them on a cart -- DVI and USB cables are cheap. Monitors are next up on the price list. Printers right afterwards.

If you do not anticipate fire actually taking out the buildling, it may be prudent to grab trash bags and cover monitors and towers with plastic instead. This will help keep any smoke or sprinkler systems from pouring on them and damaging things.

If you have a basement, or a fire proof safe, tossing stuff in it may save it if you are absolutely out of time.

Re:Prioritize (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354587)

Pack what's critical first. Servers.

No, servers aren't critical unless they're irreplacable legacy systems, in which case you probably already have a spare standby elsewhere.
Humans are.what's critical Get them out as quickly as possible.
Then data - remotely start another adhoc offline backup and leave it running while you get out.

Remember that if the National Guard tells you you have half an hour to evacuate the premises, it doesn't mean you should aim for half an hour, it means that you should evacuate as soon as possible but under no circumstance use more than half an hour.

The site (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354099)

Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:The site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354645)

Darth Vader is that you? Gawd, you are such a troll.

blankets (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354101)

you probably have lots of those available

careful over the bumps, and godspeed

Um... (5, Funny)

owenferguson (521762) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354105)

First thought is put half of them in your own car. Then put the other half in the truck and abandon it in the fire's path. Then eBay.

Relocate (3)

freshlimesoda (2497490) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354107)

Basically you're fighting, not avoiding. Relocate. Avoid. Cheers!

Offsite backups (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354111)

Damn if I'd go in to work to remove hardware when a fire is threatening.

I'm not paid enough to risk my life. Period.

Simply Throw It In (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354119)

If something breaks, it can be easily replaced. If you leave everything behind, that'd be much more expensive.

Re:Simply Throw It In (3, Funny)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354729)

If you find out you work for a business with large quantities of server equipment that doesn't have FIRE INSURANCE, the only things you should take with you are

- 1 UPS
- 1 computer (desktop/laptop/whatever)
- 1 printer
- 1 reem of paper

Now you have all you need to print resume's while driving the hell away from that building as fast as you can!

Re:Simply Throw It In (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354809)

reem resume's

You might want to add a dictionary and a grammar primer to the list.

Pictures (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354125)

Take lots of pictures before you unplug your cables. It will save you time when you have to reconnect everything.

Re:Pictures (1)

owenferguson (521762) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354149)

This is good advice.

You don't. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354129)

The "best" way to evacuate a data center is to already have off-site back-up for your data in place, drop a fresh copy to portable media, and walk out. The hardware should be insured. The life of your and your people (at least some of whom should probably be helping their families evacuate) are far more valuable than a few months of making your insurer pay for rented hardware until your new machines show up.

Re:You don't. (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354445)

The "best" way to evacuate a data center is to already have off-site back-up for your data in place, drop a fresh copy to portable media, and walk out. The hardware should be insured. The life of your and your people (at least some of whom should probably be helping their families evacuate) are far more valuable than a few months of making your insurer pay for rented hardware until your new machines show up.

Well, it's obvious the poster here was handed the job of preparing a disaster recovery plan and has no professional experience doing so... probably was given the assignment by his manager who had no idea the complexities of the task. If the OP is in that position, then it's also likely they won't see any benefit to offsite backup, or they'll blunder by putting the offsite backups in the boss' house which is three miles downwind... assuming he can even convince them to budget for it.

In that case, I'd say buy some quick-disconnect drive enclosures (the kind where you lift a lever and a harddrive is now dangling in your hand), write a formal letter of protest outlining exactly why you're not responsible for the company being wiped out, what mitigation steps you'd recommend with a proper budget, and keep a copy in a safety deposit box or some 'cloud' service far, far away from you... because yeah. -_-

Story time! I worked for a Fortune 500 company that connected consumer-grade 300watt rated UPS to racks of equipment... they were unaware of the risk of fire until I explained to them that with 2,000+ store locations and about 50 distribution centers, and 3 corporate headquarters, while the odds of any one of them failing catastrophically due to current overload was low, each one of those buildings experiences a 'power loss event' an average of a dozen times a year... so it became very likely that they would fail and cause a fire, which wouldn't be covered by insurance. Management tried to ignore it, but somehow (wink, wink) legal found out about it, and forced the Board to fix the problem post-haste to avert having to pay 50 million plus to rebuild the burned out husk of a store after the fire chief finds the flash point was a piece of equipment that was massively under-rated for the job.

Disaster planning requires a good understanding of probabilities and statistics. That understanding is surprisingly rare in the business world, despite what most people think.

Re:You don't. (5, Informative)

Zenin (266666) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354481)

This. The parent is already +5 Insightful, but really needs to be +500.

You don't evacuate a datacenter, you abandon it. Any other plan is a dozen different kinds of stupid.

At best you trigger a self-destruct (software or better yet hardware) to whip all data so scavengers don't get to it while you're fleeing.

Hardware can be replaced easily (insure it, duh). Lives and Data can not. So already have the data backed up offsite and let the lives flee as they can at the first sign of danger w/o being hindered by insanely stupid commandments like "save the copier!!!".

Re:You don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354527)

Dude, have data backups!!!! Insurance for everything else.
You and your co-workers and families are MORE IMPORTANT than equipment!!

Re:You don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354679)

RTFS, he is planning an evacuation.

Insurance is unlikely to cover any physical loss of hardware as they would claim that the company did in fact have time to shutdown and pack it all up. It's one thing if a storm came through and caused the building to flood unexpectedly, it's another to know that a fire is a day away and will likely take your building down.

Re:You don't. (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354703)

But if it's already late for that, pull the drives for safe packing. The rest can take it's chances.

Prioritize correctly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354155)

The workstations and servers presumably contain data that is either irreplaceable, or labor-intensive to recreate. the printers, IP Phones, and non-configurable networking equipment can be re-ordered when the dust settles. Pack the former first, and leave the latter if you are pressed for time.

Triage (1)

joebagodonuts (561066) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354159)

Focus on "Properly packing" the Servers and workstations. Properly packing in this context is retaliative, but I bet servers and workstations are more sensitive to getting banged around in the back of a u-haul than ip phones, printers, and wireless gear. Your network gear is probably in group 2 - more important than the "Phones, printers, and Wireless gear"

Re:Triage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354693)

+1 for "retaliative"

Emergency packing (4, Insightful)

wb8wsf (106309) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354161)

First, triage the equipment.

You likely do not have time to pull disks from systems, so pack computers and
external drives first. Get blankets to protect things. Blankets start at the bottom
to act like a shock absorber.

Things like networking gear and wireless stuff is irrelevant compared to the
computers, and probably lighter. If you CAN, sure, save all that stuff too.

But the data comes first. Don't forget backups.

If there are computers with really really important or sensitive stuff, put
those in someones car in the backseat, again with blankets. If I seem
blanket obsessed, it's because I've found them to be available quickly
either from individuals or stores. Yes, bubble wrap or sorbathane would
be better but you aren't likely to have that stuff lying around.

Re:Emergency packing (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354757)

As much as I disagree with the whole hardware-evacuation idea in the first place (backups + insurance is ALL you should need), I'd just like to mention that carpeted floors + box cutter = blankets :)

Servers first (1)

jdeitch (12598) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354165)

Best suggestion I can think of ...

1) servers (take the entire racks), documentation, backups, certificates (to prove you own what's on the servers), network gear, etc first. Make sure you have EVEYRTHING needed, core-wise, to operate.

2) THEN start loading workstations. If you have to leave some behind, and the place burns down, that's what insurance is for.

You can operate a business on leased workstations.

You cannot operate a business without all your core servers, and you wouldn't want to wait for the downtime required to rebuild them.

Re:Servers first (1)

jaden (22302) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354339)

That sounds like the best option to me too. Servers first, workstations as space allows (if you have more time than space you can pull the drives on the workstations to optimize storage). Screw the networking gear & the ip phones... but backup any config that may be associated with the devices. Also... take plenty of pictures of all the stuff, especially that being left behind. As for how to pack... if you don't have much supplies I'd try and store the machines/drives vertically to better deal with the truck ride (no data to back this up, just seems like they'd be less likely to have the drive heads tapping the disk platters that way).

-j

Wrong Time To Ask This Question! (3, Informative)

AO (62151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354175)

Not trying to be mean, but you should have already had a plan in place...this late in the game without a plan means you just have to go with asses and elbows (just get what you can while you can and forget trying to install a plan to do it!)

The good news is you can become an example for other IT people! Everyone should look at their disaster plans and make sure you have accounted/planned for all emergencies that may happen in your area.

Re:Wrong Time To Ask This Question! (2)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354215)

Having disaster plans costs money, most companies aren't willing to spend. For a company to have proper procedures in place it needs to have smart people at the top or government required facilities, both very rare...

Wrong Time To save money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354401)

Having disaster plans costs money, most companies aren't willing to spend.

And when all is said and done, what do you think this little fiasco will cost them? "Penny wise, pound foolish" applies to this situation.

Re:Wrong Time To Ask This Question! (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354767)

I don't know about that. "Have offsite backups and fire insurance." sounds pretty fucking simple to me!

Triage? (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354183)

Put the most valuable stuff in first and best packed. You can probably take the computer boxes themselves and just line them up in a big rectangular area and rope it off so they don't move. Monitors (LCD) will be the hardest because they are awkwardly shaped and easily damaged. You can wrap the screens with cardboard and lay them on their sides, interlocking, if shape permits. CRT, if you have those, can just go in like the computers, they're pretty resilient. Can't say anything about the rest, you are probably best off sticking it in boxes.

In general, rope is your friend. You can keep stuff from moving pretty effectively with rope.

Family and essentials (1)

tarellel (863902) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354185)

I'd say worry about your family first and get them the hell out of there first. And than from there start at whats essential and most important

Triage (1)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354191)

Replaceable: Ignore it.

Irreplaceable: Load it and get the hell out.

Next time: Planning and preparation.

Backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354195)

I would take backup tapes first in a separate vehicle. that way you can recover. Servers. Work station computers next, not the monitors keyboards and mice. Then leave the rest. Insurance should cover it. The most important thing is the data, and they sit on the backup tapes and don't take much space.

Start with what you can least afford to lose. (3, Interesting)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354211)

Whatever stores data first -- if it's a SAN, then your RAID chassis and metadata controllers, and if you have time, the SAN fabric switches and cabling, but you can replace the latter if you have to, and if it's ordinary SAS, the servers if they're all internal storage, or the RAID chassis or whatever's external. Definitely grab any non-offsite backup media with that. Rest of it in descending order of priority after you grab the most valuable stuff, mostly to avoid having to replace it.

Best strategy overall is to think "what if we had to abandon this evacuation mid-process and run?" Try to have what you most want already in the truck at any given moment, and concentrate on data before hardware -- the data is far more valuable in most cases.

If you haven't done an offsite backup, for god/dess' sake do one *now* and get the backup media to a safe location .. :/

It's all about the data. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354227)

Label the server disks, then pull them from the servers. Use your limited packing materials to protect them. If you have time to load the servers into the truck, then great - but as long as you know what servers those disks came from, you can buy more of them (or put in service calls on the ones you have if they were damaged in the truck).

Dump your switch and router configs to text file and copy them to USB key AND PAPER.

If you're looking to do a straight toss-and-drive: workstations on the bottom, then servers, then switches. Printers off to the side. Everything else (phones, etc) on top of the switches.

Labelled hard drives in a separate, padded box that doesn't leave your sight, and switch configs in your pocket.

Hope that your users don't save everything on their desktops...

Not that hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354245)

Heavy/sturdiest stuff on bottom, fill left & right sides of the truck then fill in the middle w/ crap that can easily be tossed out for easy access. Seriously though, just play tetris next time you take a shit & the tetris effect will show the way. Oh, & label the workstations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris_effect

Cushion (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354289)

Many servers and disk arrays specify that drives have to be shipped separately simply because their mass is so high that the rack doesn't pass shock and vibe tests. So either pull out the drives (mark which slot they go into) and pack them separately in bubble wrap or, if that's not an option, put as much cushioning as you can around the servers and strap them down so they don't bounce. In any case, be prepared for some disk drive damage or degradation.

My suggestion (1)

cre_slash (744044) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354309)

Catapult. Quick as hell...

Migrant workers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354313)

Drive up to a Home Depot and honk your horn.

P.S.
Buy them lunch.

Evacuate? (1)

charlieo88 (658362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354347)

It's called insurance.

Re:Evacuate? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354633)

If the company goes under because they don't have backups and all the data is gone then insurance doesn't help.

If they've got a few hours notice then loading 50 servers into a van isn't a stupid idea.

have everything "ready to go" (4, Informative)

lkcl (517947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354357)

thinking this through, your priority is to make it as quick as possible to get essential gear out the door. so, consider:

* having the servers and desktops *already* in easy-to-carry crates, with large handles on the outside and packing materials surrounding the machines.
* have the machines stacked off the ground so that people don't have to waste time bending down and possibly injuring themselves by jolting weight that's too much for them
* have all essential equipment nearest to the doors plural, prioritised by criticality
* yes doors plural: add an extra door next to the existing one (or replace the one door with easy-to-open double-doors with those pushable handles) so that at least two people side-by-side can get through at once, carrying the crates, and can just "barge through them" rather than having to twist the handles.
* make sure that the crates are stackable and sturdy but also light enough to carry!
* even consider having the machines already loaded onto 4-wheeled trollies and left on them, permanently.
* if time is _seriously_ critical, consider putting guillotines next to all cables (and test them) so that people don't have to waste time unplugging cables: just cut them and go - but only consider this if the guillotines are sharp enough and easy enough to operate, and only if it's seriously seriously critical to save seconds. don't put power cables through the guillotine though!
* consider getting convenient light-weight but sturdy cabinets made for all LCD monitors, with double doors that fold back 180 degrees out of sight, and a top (with a handle) that locks automatically when it's flipped over. have the LCD monitors mounted onto the cabinets with rubber bushes so that they don't need to be placed or positioned into the cabinets - just pull out the cables, shut the doors, slam the top over and pick it up by the handle: done.
* consider getting 12v powered LCD monitors instead of 240v/120v AC mains, so that the power cables can be guillotined rather than pulled.
* instead of guillotining, consider breaking all the tabs on the network and telephone cables (the ones that "click and lock") and affixing them *loosely* with gaffa tape to all devices (network hubs, machines etc.) - this way it will be possible to just pull (hard) and out pop the cables. or, if someone forgets, and gets to the end of the wire, they won't trip or be yanked backwards: the cable will just come out, clean.
* get 4-port hubs instead of 8, 16 or 24-port. 4 gaffa-taped cables are easier to pull out than 8, 16 or 24, and if one of the 4-port hubs is lost to a fire, so what, big deal. a 24-port hub however starts to get expensive.
* stop people from putting the bloody screws in the bloody cables - you know the ones: parallel ports, VGA cables, serial cables etc. the ones that are always bloody irritating when it comes to fixing or moving a machine and you find that the bloody VGA cable needs a bloody screwdriver to remove the damn thing. take the screws *OUT* of the cables; that way people can't go "oh look: screws - let's tighten them".

so - yeah. make it easy to just shift everything. have practice drills. set a deadline (say 1 minute) and see how much kit people can get out in that time, without damaging it.

oh - and you know how i suggested making it easy to shift everything? uh... make sure the insurance is up to date, and get good security. no point making it easy for *other people* to shift all that expensive gear, eh? oh. and sort out some off-site backups, eh? :) i use rsync; my friend uses backuppc (because he has a lot of machines). /peace

Re:have everything "ready to go" (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354659)

* add an extra door next to the existing one

Would that be done by driving a truck through the wall?

It doesn't sound like there's time to do the paperwork and get full planning approval to put some extra doors in...

How did you become the IT _Manager_? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354361)

Why does an IT manager not have a disaster recovery plan?

How did you get to be the IT manager and not do this basic planning? I mean you are the _manager_ after all. You don't do any real (i.e. in the trenches) work any more, so what are you doing if you are not at least doing regular IT manager stuff like planning for disaster?

Leave the equipment, take the cannoli. (3, Informative)

Mansing (42708) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354385)

Walk out with your backups, and save the people first.

go with Ryder (much better then U-Haul) (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354387)

go with Ryder (much better then U-Haul)

I don't see (2)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354391)

the problem. Like the other people say here, load up the most important machines first, pack them with bubblewrap, stack them and tie them down. Same with the monitors if you can do everything in one go. I suppose you want to save the machines first, data is money, monitors are cheap. 3 guys load 200 machines in under an hour. (been there done that). Be careful the most dangerous thing to the machines are bumpy roads. Take it easy. Hard bumps can kill a disk, and generally, any vibrations will loosen cables. Especially SATA cables. Don't panic if something doesn't work after moving, open machine, fasten all cables. :)

Launch it into space! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354405)

Thank me later!

Ask the Monks to all prey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354413)

Ask the Monks to all prey very fast and in ernest, and get all your disk / tape storage out now...... the heat in the area alone may be enough to kill tape if you have any. but disks, san, backup data is 100% a must...... insurance hopefully would cover what got left behind.

Insurance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354437)

Well, the equipment should be fully insured. Have a plan in place to replace it quickly. The data should be backed up offsite. If you are not doing offsite backup then TPTB obviously place the value of that data at $0. The only thing you should be walking out the door with in the event of a wildfire coming your way is yourself, your laptop and possibly some drives with the most recent local backup.

But if the fire is literally on your doorstep now, I'd tell the boss to fuck off and get my ass out of there, the hell with the job and the data and the company.

Re:Insurance? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354805)

Seeing as he obviously has enough time to wait for slashdot responses, I'd just start a new offsite-backup run and lock the doors on my way home to evacuate my family.

Plans What Plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354443)

Pretty much at this point you should be opening book 1 and looking for plan b , the one you have actually practiced a time or two. but it sounds too late for that. so take data first, if you can't move it send the data it's self to the cloud, PCs pretty much get work done so they go next, VOIP phone server equipment should be the last to go, can you auto forward to cell phones before the bug out? the employees may be able to lighten the load by taking their own equipment when they bug out.

The rest of the readers out there Plan, Practice, review plan, practice, and repeat again.

Consider this a learning experience (2)

dlb (17444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354463)

Had you adopted "The Cloud" sooner, this would not have been a problem!

Prefab... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354487)

For rapid packing it would be best to have moving pallets prefabbed. Each employee grabs there gear, puts it into the prefab units, then you wheel the lot out. That way you're not pissing about trying to arrange everything so that it fits. As long as the truck holds the prefab units, everything will fit.

been there done that (5, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354507)

Two years ago we go a call telling us the levies might not hold and if they burst (1 block away) we'd have 8 ft of water. We didn't really have a battle plan and we had a lot less to deal with than it sounds like you did, but we learned some lessons.

1) praise the lord we had good network documentation. Now is not the time to be writing down how the firewall and public and private LANs are plugged in together. Shut stuff down, and start placing network hardware in big plastic tubs. Have tubs handy for this, they nest nicely when not in use. Toss cables in a different tub. just wind them up best you can into loops and toss them in. there's probably not time for neatness, you can deal with that later. TAKE THE DOCUMENTATION WITH YOU. You'll feel mighty silly if that's left pinned on the wall. or I assume you have an electronic copy you can print when you get offsite. Make sure any servers with complex cable attachments (like to phone banks or security systems) have labels on the connectors.

1b) got your phone system documented too? this is a whole 'nother can of worms that often is forgotten about. Does anyone have a diagram of where all those punched down wires go on each block? If you have phone switching hardware to pack, make sure the cables are labeled, they will all probably look the same with the giant connectors that attach to the blocks. "We'll just call Al, he does our phone stuff." Oh, you don't think Al is going to be BUSY helping everyone else that is returning? Nothing's as fun as a 2-3 day wait to get your phones back up and running huh?

2) Label ac adapters. You need to know which unit wants 12vdc and which has 24vac, you don't want to fry stuff when you are trying to reassemble. every pack should have the model of the unit it goes to written on it. Gear WILL get separated from its pack during the evac.

3) label staff's hardware. It's very annoying trying to figure out whose beige box is whose later. and they will probably fight over monitors and keyboards later. save yourself the headache. If you are already under the gun, run to the store and get a dozen rolls of masking tape and sharpies and have the staff label their equipment while you're packing things up, full initials or names, I bet you have duplicate first names you don't want to deal with later. Make sure you label the phones.

4) have a plan for things you can't easily move. the corp office was also forecast to get 8ft of water and they were on the WRONG side of the dike so it was more of a "when" than "if". they had a very expensive multifunction printer that the service people told them they could have a tech out to take it apart (so it fit out the door) in three days, which obviously was silly. They rushed in a bunch of cinder blocks and lifted it up and set it on them 8.5' up. (I have no idea how they lifted it) In retrospect, the building got 14" of water and totaled it, they SHOULD have killed power to the building and took a saws all to a wall. OR at least watertight wrapped it before lifting. I've seen this done with entire cars when faced with an incoming flood or hurricane. Even if it doesn't keep out the water 100%, at least it will keep out the mud, which you may be very grateful later. Got a plan for your big server room ups's? those can be quite large and heavy, and are often hardwired into the AC, are you able and qualified to unhook it? Maybe you should call in an electrician now and change that armored cable to a dryer type plug? Have a place you can move big stuff that can't be evac'd to where it will be at least more likely to survive. Think of flood, fire, and tornado/hurricane, there's probably not one single place that will work best in all three cases. Smoke damage can be very destructive, simply having something wrapped in mover's visqueen may prevent unnecessary loss that the fire missed but the smoke got. Do you have a plan for that rack that's bolted down or won't even fit through the door?

5) Document what's been left behind. A simple way to do this is take a cameraphone or camcorder or whathaveyou and run around the building rapidly before you evac and get a view of the place as it looks before you leave. Just do a moderate paced 360 in every room. This is a really simple, cheap, fast thing to do and will really help you later with the insurance co. Video is better than pictures, but use a camera(phone) if that's all you've got. The camera will remember a lot of things you did not. This applies better to general stuff than networking, but still, make sure it's on *somebody's* list.

6) have all your software easy to move out too. It moves a lot easier when it's a disc with a license key on it than a big retail box, those can really add up in the tub and in the van. Some companies packing tape 9x12 manilla envelopes to the sides of each pc and drop in the licenses and software discs in there so they stay with the computer, this is a really handy solution if you don't think theft is a problem.

7) be prepared to remove network infrastructure that's not centralized. wireless access points up on the wall or in the ceiling, routers and switches in the closet down the hall, the keycard server in the front office, the photocopier/network printer in the lounge, etc. I recommend the IT dept have at least one cordless drill/screwgun for emergency use like this, now is not the time to be wasting trying to remove dozens of long wood screws that are holding gear down around the building. Also very useful for buzzing out rack screws if you have to break down racks. Have containers to put LOTS of screws in.

I'm probably forgetting a few less important things, but that should be good food for thought.

Only one possible answer. (1, Funny)

jensend (71114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354517)

Bring in an expert [youtube.com] .

If you played enough nethack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354533)

you'd know that fire kills trolls

"Pre-evacuation" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354543)

Most posters don't seem to have understood the question. The location is *not* in immediate danger; there is no current risk to life or property. However, if the fire behaves badly, they may have a problem a few days from now. The idea is to be ready for that circumstance. So there's plenty of time to worry about valuable property as well as people.

Computing on the run. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354557)

These [sinteur.com] would be perfect for emergencies.

mattresses--servers--desktops--phones--screens (2)

ItalianScallion (145653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354559)

in order of importance, fragility, price and density.

put some spare mattresses on the floor/sides of the uhaul and put your servers down there. next to each other. (you do have mattresses, right? you're a retreat center and a big fire is coming...)
next desktop boxes, lined up next to each other.
on top networking and ip phones, combined into a few bags/pillowcases etc. these, particularly the phones are light and wont damage each other.
next screens, wrapped in blankets and stabilized. you'll find the screens most fragile, and requiring the most careful packing, but they are also not so expensive to replace so don't worry too much.

come to think of it, you probably can throw some meditation pillows in there between the screens and anywhere else you need them.

that should give you a fast pack of everything critical. you also hopefully have made offsite backups, though.

seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354567)

you have no disaster plan? 1.) offsite backup everything, 2.) get everyone out. 3.) file an insurance claim, 4.) rebuild.

Inventory, then HD's only (1)

shadowsurfr1 (746027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354639)

1. Inventory *everything* in terms of hardware, disks, monitors, etc. Insurance will want this (and you do have insurance, don't you?)
2. Save all configs that you can to someplace secure/remote. This would make setting things up again more easy if it is the case that your entire workplace gets destroyed. A switch / wireless AP / IP phone is very easy to replace and really not worth saving if there's a fire coming down the mountain.
Consider this: do you really need the entire workstation or just the hard drive? Even then, do you even need the data on it or can you rebuild it with an image and a restore from a network share?

Quickest way right here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354657)

Insurance and off site backup.

Professional Movers (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354723)

You likely don't have the knowledge and skills to quickly pack and load a truck like this - stuff will get broken, and you'll be slow.

Better to hire professional moves who can come in, grab the critical stuff, and pack the truck so that nothing gets damaged. Probably stuff like equipment racks can be dollied out in one piece and tied down in the truck - forget pulling individual drives.

Take Pictures For Insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354727)

If you have only 30 minutes or so chances are one or two people will only be able to grab a few servers at most, and with a large organization thats going to boil down to probably credit card processing server, customer account database server, imaging server(s), and maybe a web server and application server. Everything else be sure to take pictures of so its easy to prove it existed for insurance purposes.

Bonus. If the stuff doesnt' get damaged, its easier to put 4 or 5 servers back in the racks than it is a bunch of racks.

Don't rush or panic while moving critical gear. Take careful methodical action and accidents will be less likely to happen. Don't drop the critical server while trying to save it.

no excuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354739)

Your backup tapes/drives/cloud thinger should already be well outside of the evacuation zone. Turn off the lights, and go.

If you don't have that ability, then your organization has failed at responsible IT 101.

Colo and insurnace (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354741)

Too late for that now I suppose.

In lieu of that grab the drives and run.

Move in a Flash (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40354761)

As everyone has stated so far, WTF are you doing on Slashdot, when your in an emergency situation. Now, onto my part, WTF are you doing as a IT Manager, and you don't have a critical battle plan, How the hell did you get this job in the first place. Your previous background was not in IT somehow. /done.

      First thing first, Grab the essentials. Since you stated 50+ workstations 6 Servers and random IT 'junk' then your most important priority is obviously the data. Whatever your company's business is, I presume you have six servers because the important stuff is done on these servers, and the workstations are really just end user stuff. Park the U-Haul close to the building and get ready to launch.
--1) Mark your machines. IP addresses, Hostnames, etc each machine should be labeled before disconnection. Your first hour can go quick, if you use programs like Nessus, or LanGuard to map your existing network infrastructure. Getting a logical map saved of everything connected is a wise thing to do. Once a logical map is made, and physically your equipment is labeled... Step 2.
--2) Unplug the important. So you have some networking equipment along with your processing equipment(computers/servers) You probably want everything that could be brought back, plugged backed in, and literally your back up and running. Well. Time to grab the essentials. Grab your routers, switches, the Modem will be helpful. Grab the servers, and THEN grab the workstations. Load them up. You have laser printers? Are these printers networked? If so, you may want to grab the most productive Printer you have, and take it with you.
--3) Segment the piles. Obviously people want to keep their 'junk' together, however in a emergency situation, the most important stuff needs to be cared for first. So the IP phones, are probably expendable. Maybe not thePBX device because those can cost upwards in the thousands, so if its located on the wall where it should be, you can probably disconnect it and take it with you. The phones themselves can be expensive as well, but not even close to the device that serves them.
  --4) When your out of the way of harm, you probably want to setup temporary shop. So wherever you end up, you are only going to setup the marginal needs to ensure you can pull records/data. So a Hotel, U-Store-It, or even a different office building, your going to need to obtain some replacement temp cabling, and desks.

    As you can tell, if you left behind anything during your grab, your going to be spending money to have replacements. Hope the insurance coverage wasn't botched, because this is where you learn your company can get back on its feet. Otherwise, if you lost your data, your dead anyways. At least you have your data.

    I could care less about 'Cloud Computing", but it really is a blessing to have some sort of off-site backup procedure in place. While your prepping to move, you could have had your data backing up online/offsite. During the long process, you could have recorded serial numbers, taken photographs of each room (before) along with itemized lists of what was in each room (or associated with each workstation). If you did a good job, you probably now have sufficient records of all your assets ahead of time. But if you suck at your job, you are probably frantic right now, and making bad decisions like asking Slashdot for advice, when you have few hours left.

  Now my example of an emergency situation that came up on me at a datacenter (10k workstation/server environment).

  Flashflood warning popped up on me, and corporate was out of town. Our datacenter was setup with a T1, Satellite, and a backup (consumer based) Cable Modem services. With our primary switches and routers located in a locked room. When employees started panicking that water was entering the building from the east end(where the ditches and drainage areas were), I knew we would be losing power soon, and our Diesel Generator would kick in. Ahead of time, I had told employes to tell each other to save their work projects, and shutdown their desktops/monitors anything plugged in. Yes, most employees are NOT Professional IT people so you will have to literally babystep many in how to do simple things like, unplug a computer and place the tower on the desk. The most Important thing to the company was making sure the 'company's client data is safe'. I had each employee unplug their workstations are place their machines on the top of their desks.

    Having been the IT guy for the company for a few months, I already logged and recorded our network topology, and each workstations names and IPs. So just walking to each machine to grab and take to the upper floor storage area was a breeze. The Servers on the other hand was a different story. When a company regards its own IT people as 'not paygrade enough to touch the really good stuff' And lock down the server room without giving the onsite Management or Tech access to the room. Well it could have been worse. I having been a Locksmith apprentice years before (in Boy Scouts) I locked picked my way into the server room. (okay someone helped my move the ceiling tile, and I crawled over the door, Security at its finest) Unlocked the door, and proceeded with unplugging the vital server equipment to the company, and relocating it to the second floor. Before I was helping employees with their workstations I already initiated a manual tape backup procedure and started shutting down the servers. Once I gained physical access to them, it wasn't hard to just unplug and move them. Power Drills are your friend.

    When the flood finally hit the inside of our building the whole first floor was underwater. Insurance covered the cost of recovering lost office materials, Monitors keyboards/mice/phones/wiring/etc. The data is the important aspect of your business.

    I was later given key access and almost tenured employment for thinking fast on my feet, when Corporate was unavailable to deal with the emergency. My boss at the time did not know I didn't have a key to the server room, because for most of my time there, I never needed access to the room when keys were present. Remote Terminal, RDP/PuTTY/VNC access has always been a blessing.

  8 Months later, the company was fully recovered thanks to insurance, and then sold to a bigger company whereas I lost my job.

Modularize (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354815)

For now, I'm with those who say to get data offsite, then prioritize the rest. But for my clients in high risk zones, I generally recommend that they build their DCs using half height racks that can be lifted out with the equipment still in them, forklift sized DC doors, don't forget to actually have a forklift, put related equipment (power, air) into each rack, and label all the patch panels in each rack (the ones that connect to equipment outside the rack) consistently and thoroughly. That's enough to get you a semi-mobile DC in a war zone. It is expensive though. For most people, it's better to have hot-hot DCs geographically separated, and let the insurance company buy you new gear while you run on your remaining site(s).

Portability (2)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#40354817)

Laptops/notebooks, tablets where possible. Anything that can be used in a zipper case is a plus.

Wireless of course. Several sets of access points, two in the trailer. The production ones can be left behind to burn.

Many of today's notebooks can do a good job as a server, remember to use power settings that make sense for server duty.

Backups of course, but probably external drives.

If you have the flexibility to choose your server OS, one that offers a resilient filesystem is good, since you may have to power down in a vehicle of some sort. Pulling the external drive off when running will exercise the resilience.

Bugging out would consist mostly of closing lids, zipping up cases (maybe) and running. Servers go the same way. IF you can grab the APs, fine. For 50 users, this will not take a half hour. Crates to take the zip cases should let you essentially drop stations in there. You can build crates that cushion your servers better. External drives get better cushioning also, but using notebook drives enhances their durability, some. Everything else can survive.

Keep a set of UPSes in the trailer, or at least by the back door, charging. These will get handy when you arrive at the new location, and if you save the old ones, you may use two sets to give you instant power while you get everything running, and find the outlets for permanent power. A generator would be handy, and it need not be big. Propane rigs are easier to handle than gasoline. If your evac point is within 2 hours' drive, you may even be able to safe the servers, park the drives, and take them on the trip running. You ARE writing scripts to do emergency shutdowns, safe modes, parks, and closing critical apps/saving data, riiiight?

I'm assuming you may not always have 24 hours' notice. If you will have a guaranteed 2 hour notice, then use short racks that can be wheeled around, and you can have fairly conventional servers and wired network, just plan on abandoning the cabling, which is entirely expendable IMHO. Leaving the servers and switches cabled together is helpful, and sme simplified interconnect to mutiple cabinets will help. Plenty of cables in the trailer, and a spool of cable with a bag of plugs and at least 2 crimpers also. And a simple tester. Trust me on this, no point in guessing if you made it right. Making those 200' cables to solve a problem would be handy.

Lots of diagrams laminated to the cabinets is handy, even a grease penciled fill in the blanks chart to show what was built is a blessing when you reconnect.

Somehow, I suspect the military has some advice for you on this. Someone in Interior or the Forest Service must have a contact.

I would love to be in that business. Nothing like having to make DR plans that have to accomodate the loss of the facility to sharpen your focus and get the juices flowing. The last project like that I was in, a financial institution needed a similar plan, and we even has a BOM at a distributor ready to be ordered and shipped on notice, updated quarterly. Almost got to do it for real, but they fixed the gas leak without blowing up the building. Darn. :)

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