ITS Infrastructure & Operations completed its first tabletop exercise to test the efficacy of the ConnectCarolina Service Recovery Plan on February 22.
This was the imaginary scenario: the ITS Manning data center suffered a failure and was inoperable for an extended time. A decision must be made whether a disaster should be declared, and whether to switch data operations over to the ConnectCarolina hardware running at ITS Franklin.
The goals of the exercise were to:
- Confirm the team’s understanding of the requirements to recover the affected infrastructure in the backup location
- Validate the viability of the plan
- Confirm the communications process necessary for decision makers
- Identify areas of improvement
Exercise drew 50+ participants
More than 50 people participated, representing ITS, Procurement, Finance, Workforce Strategy Equity & Engagement, Payroll and Internal Audit. Matthew Mauzy, Emergency Response Technology Manager, led the training.
“The exercise was well received,” Mauzy said. “All the participants were actively engaged in the discussions. The exercise demonstrated ITS would be successful in recovering services while also identifying opportunities for improvement in coordination, information sharing and process documentation.”
Learning through interaction
This was the first major ITS tabletop exercise in 2019. ITS plans to hold a much larger one later this year.
“I was particularly thrilled to see the interaction between all the parties involved,” said John Mack, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Infrastructure & Operations. “The ingestion of new information that changed the scenario throughout the exercise helped the teams to think more broadly about key decisions and process gaps during the crisis.”
Mack and Mauzy have been working with the Disaster Recovery Committee on several mockup tabletops leading up to this one. There are more things to work on to prepare for the larger exercise, they said. That exercise will include a scenario that impacts multiple services.
“We look forward to the next DR exercise in which we move closer to a real-world scenario with everyone responding and participating from wherever they are in the same manner they would in a true service outage,” Mauzy said.
“Jim Gogan’s Netnado full-scale exercises set a high bar for disaster recovery and service continuity and have prepared ITS for the next phases of disaster recovery,” Mauzy added. Former Assistant Vice Chancellor of ITS Communication Technologies, Gogan retired in January after 42 years of serving UNC-Chapel Hill.
Mauzy, Brenda Carpen, Brent Caison, Ethan Kromhout, Ray DeCristofaro and Don Hepp contributed significantly to the planning and coordination of the tabletop exercise.