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Business continuity exercise aims for fast recovery if diaster strikes

June 09, 2006 :: Shirley Ross, Information Systems & Computing

What would happen if Penn’s IT data centers were totally unusable as the result of a disaster? On May 10 and 11, more than 110 individuals from more than a dozen Penn organizations (the Division of Finance, University Libraries, the schools of Dental Medicine and Nursing, the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life, Payroll, and Student Systems among others) and from vendor partners SunGard and Vital Records, Inc. participated in the Information Systems & Computing-led Business Continuity Disaster Exercise. This event occurs every six months to validate the recovery procedures and time to allow faster access to computer applications in the event of a real disaster. The teams accomplished 100% of the approximately 80 objectives required to validate that processes and procedures have been updated and maintained as applications are updated or have been deployed on different hardware technology. ISC participants were joined by participants from other organizations who exercised the ability to achieve “real time remote disk recovery” which is enabled by “mirroring” capabilities in which updates to data are written to disk here at Penn and simultaneously to disk facilities located at SunGard. Other organizations elect to backup to tape or through other disk backups available through ISC. The event is conducted off-site at SunGard’s 401 North Broad location, one of three SunGard locations that contain all the hardware required to restore Penn’s critical applications in the event the ISC data center or others are destroyed in a disaster. For more information, contact Tom Unger at

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