This weekend in New England, we suffered one of the biggest power outages since I moved there 19 years ago. Most lost power on Saturday evening, and yesterday there were over 2,000,000 homes and residences without power.
New Englanders are pretty resilient and creative, so there were many working from libraries that had power, McDonalds and lots of home sharing going on. Fortunately, we were pretty well able to manage through this by relocating our license server (which activates new customers), otherwise it was an inconvenient day but we worked around the problem.
We get a couple of lessons when a big outage like this happens.
We understand what is was like to spend a family evening quietly and by candlelight. Just sharing with each other without the incessant banter of a TV in the background. We also understand the importance of contingency planning in an emergency. As many of our main systems are distributed, databases, support materials, email, instant messaging and the web are available, once we have a computer and power. So that was the search yesterday morning to keep all the systems running. Without an effective VPN we would not easily have been able to service clients today, or for the rest of this week, if that’s how long it takes for the power to return to the offices.
By the third day questions regarding the response and infrastructure of the power grid are starting to come up again. Why New England utility companies are so dependent on over ground wires, and why they let customers grow trees around and above wires. It’s hard to fathom, but we don’t seem to want to infringe (excuse the pun) on the rights of even tree branches in Massachusetts.
Anyway, we are pleased to be able to serve our clients this morning and while not quite business as usual. We are thankful for being up and running.