Of Fire and Water

This is one of our favorite stories so please forgive us for Hollywood-ing it up a bit.  Helping this client made us feel like heroes in a disaster film, complete with huge fires, flooding, and a happy ending.  We rarely get so much excitement working in the IT field.

It was a Friday evening and John was watching the news at home. The city of Louisville was deluged by record rainfall for the entire summer, and it looked like it wasn't going to be letting up anytime soon. The news reported flooding across the region with many areas of Louisville unpassable to anything except emergency vehicles. It was tragic, but not necessarily a problem for John who was sitting on a couch in a dry home on a hill. John called around to a few clients that he knew were in lower areas to make sure everything was okay or if they needed any help weathering the storm.

One client wasn't having a good day.  They already had water coming in under the doors and it was rapidly rising. Rather than waiting to see what would happen, the client and Internetek decided it would be best to evacuate the server equipment and bring it to the Internetek office for safekeeping until they knew what the rain would do. A couple of the Internetek staff loaded up their rain gear, got in the car, and headed towards the client site.

By the time they arrived an hour later the water was several inches deeper and the roads were nowhere to be seen. They were there, somewhere, under at least two feet of muddy water. In a true sign of the apocalypse, a massive fire at the nearby GE plant created a black pillar of smoke which loomed over the city, as though from some nearby volcanic eruption. At least the rain was helping with that? The Internetek staff parked at the edge of the flood waters and, not to be dissuaded, proceeded to hike the two miles to the client facility to recover the server.

On arrival, the server was barely above water. If a server could tread water, it would be trying to do it. The Internetek staff quickly pulled the server from the rack and moved it onto a table for safe keeping. Anything else that looked viable was pulled from the server rack and put on higher shelves out of the reach of the flood waters. The server was the goal and the server would be leaving. The one-hundred pound server was wrapped in construction-grade garbage bags, carried the two miles back to safety, and loaded into the client's vehicle so they could transport it to the Internetek office. (In hindsight, they probably should have followed the lessons of The Oregon Trail and avoided deep water but the job was done.)

The client facility was structurally fine but it would take at least several days to clean out all the mud and chemicals left by the flood. Whatever is in flood water is something you don't want on you or your offices. Internetek, not one to leave something alone and in coordination with the client, put the server on their network and brought it online. The server was checked and confirmed to be in working order. Over the next day the Internetek staff reconfigured a section of their network for the server, set up remote access, and helped the client's employees get access to it so they could work from other offices and home. Once the flood water receded and the mud was cleaned out another location was chosen for the servers that would be above even record flood waters.

In the end, the client was offline for maybe two days. Most of which were a weekend. Could the Internetek staff have ignored the issue? If we were like other IT groups, then yes. After all, who could blame them for a flood?

At Internetek, we're not satisfied with what everyone else would do. We aim for a higher standard and go where others don't.