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January 23, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

The confluence of malign stars over the United States last week created so much chaos that the Prodigy Services Co bulletin board set up so that people could let off steam and air their concerns about the San Fernando Valley earthquake was peppered with forecasts that the chaos heralded the end of the world. One company for which, while not being business as usual, it was business as intended, was Comdisco Inc’s Comdisco Disaster Recovery unit. As if the unaccustomed frenzy of the earthquake were not enough, the Big Freeze in the Mid-Atlantic states, which has now claimed twice as many fatalities as the earthquake, was causing widespread power cuts and demands on its services – and then there was the little matter of two burst water mains causing water shortages to the chillers that maintain the unnatural environment mainframe dinosaurs require for their survival. The company reports that in the Los Angeles area, six subscribers last week declared disasters and a total of an additional 21 subscribers alerted Comdisco to potential need for disaster recovery services. In Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, 17 subscribers issued alerts because of the power cuts, and one subscriber in Atlanta declared a drought-born disaster and another four issued alerts that they might need succour. While this is the first time three regions have been affected by disasters simultaneously, we are prepared to provide all the subscribers with the support they may need, said a confident Nicholas Pontikes, president of the Disaster Recovery Services division. He notes that since the division was founded in 1980, Comdisco has supported customers in more than 170 successful recoveries – and tested more than 4,000 disaster recovery plans annually. The company says that it is providing subscribers with end-to-end recovery encompassing the data centre, networks, telephony, desktop technology and the work area. Large computer installations are being recovered throughout the company’s network of data centres across the US, and work area recovery is being provided in several facilities, notably Comdisco’s bases in Cypress and Huntington Beach, California. For earthquake victims, it is also offering office relocation services for companies that must move their employees to alternate sites. Although the marginal cost of providing so many people with services at the same time may be relatively high, Comdisco has every reason to be confident that the consciousness-raising benefits of the catastrophes will bring in a flood of new subscribers.

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