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November wasn't a-happening for 3000s

3000s can beat fiery, flooding disasters

As the New York and New Jersey grids battle back to restore power and pump out floodwaters today, we recall the stories of HP 3000s that survived almost anything nature had to dump on them. More than once we've heard tales of systems still running, while plugged in, surrounded by several inches of water. 

Screen shot 2012-10-31 at 9.14.29 AMWe've checked in on several HP 3000 sites in the Tri-State area but haven't heard back from the likes of NPD, Jennison Associates or the Local 237 chapter of the Teamsters in New York. Perhaps out of harm's way, or maybe just too busy reconnecting the rest of their infrastructure -- or waiting for the power to come back on.

But one of the early stories we ran in our blog came in the summer of 2005, while the waters of Hurricane Katrina were falling away, slowly. The advice about recovering a 3000 intact after that flooding still holds true today.

John Saylor, Director of Special Markets for 3000 supplier Quest Software, posted some very basic advice back then about restarting equipment after a water disaster:

If your equipment has gotten wet, take a moment to plan your recovery strategy before you plug anything back in. To begin with, don’t plug in anything if it’s even damp, let alone wet. Make sure that any equipment that has been touched by water is completely dry before turning it on. That goes for battery-operated equipment as well as equipment that you plug in. If the water damage was minor, it might work fine. Even if it’s underwater, you might luck out. I once had a cell phone that went through the washing machine yet miraculously worked once it dried out. Had I turned it on when it was still wet, it would have almost certainly have been permanently damaged.

If your computer is completely underwater, there is a strong likelihood that your hard drive has been damaged. If you have a backup, you’re going to be okay. If you don’t have a backup, you might still be able to recover the data, but it will cost you. Disasters like Hurricane Katrina have been with us for a long time, but in today’s world there are additional things to think about as people begin the recovery process. Even if you don’t live in hurricane country, you still run the risk of another type of disaster, fire or just a run-of-the-mill power failure.

Then there was the 3000 left standing, still servicable, when the rest of a company's building burned all around it.

A fire showed how essential the 3000 can be. John Lee of Vaske Computer Solutions offered up an incredible tale of how durable HP 3000 hardware can be in disasters -- one that seems to define the outer limits of any computer's capability. 

"One of our customers had a fire in their headquarters last night, and it caused major smoke damage throughout the building, including the datacenter. The building lost power and their 968 powered down as it was supposed to. But the blackened, ash-covered beast booted up in the morning once power was restored, and they continued operations from their remote site (the manufacturing plant) which they are linked to via T1, and they're still running! "

Lee supplied the topper to the story later in the day. "The building has been gutted except for the computer room, which they're going to demolish last so the system can continue to run," he said. "So here sits a burned out, gutted brick building with an unrecognizable 968 in the middle of it, still running the company. That would make for almost as good an ad as the HP garage!"

Before Katrina swept its broom of destruction in 2005, we ran a pair of articles about disaster recovery strategies, written and adapted by Paul Edwards of Paul Edwards and Associates. Our columnist Scott Hirsh has also weighed in with best practices on DR in his Worst Practices column, written in the wake of 9/11.