Logo: TUG TORONTO USERS GROUP for Midrange Systems
e -server magazine

March 1996: Volume 11, Number 4

TUG MoM Review - The January '96 Meeting of Members

By Léo Lefebvre

n a very cold day in January 1996, the 24th to be more precise; two very interesting sessions were presented at our regular Meeting Of Members (or MOM as we like to call it). Two sessions that were also surprisingly captivating. During the first session, Ricardo Alvarez of IBM Canada Ltd. talked about BRP (Business Recovery Planning). So far, nothing to write home about, sessions with that topic are frequent and, by now, you think you have seen them all. But Ricardo proved us wrong. He is an expert in BRP and his knowledge is skillfully propagated.

As he explained in his presentation, for a successful business recovery you must have a plan and you must be committed to regularly review it and maintain it when needed. It is, probably, what brought us to that meeting: review of our knowledge on BRP and see what we have to do to improve our plan (for those of us who have a plan). The work environments are evolving, businesses are changing, business processors are changing. Very few companies are doing business today the same way they were doing business five years ago. If you have a BRP (plan) that was established a few years ago and was never reviewed, chances are that your plan is dangerously outdated. BRP is not just for IT, but is your processor the same size as when the plan was set up? How about the magnetic storage units (disk drives, tape drives and others); are they the same as they were few years ago? CAN YOU STILL READ THOSE MAGNETIC TAPES PRODUCED FEW YEARS AGO that you keep for history? Can you read your most recent backup tapes? Is your tape drive in perfect running order? Could there be a defect with your magnetic tapes (and/or diskettes) that would prevent you from restoring your files and system from them?

The session was very informative and Ricardo kept everybody listening. Here are some points he discussed: Evolving Environments, Business Transformation, Steps of Disaster Recovery Planning, Mission Statement of a BRP, Steps in the Planning Approach and many more. Unfortunately, time was too short and Ricardo could not deliver everything he had for us. He will have to come back for another session. Stay tuned!

The second session was also a great surprise. After we had learned that our scheduled speaker (Bob Tipton) would not be able to make it, Beverly Russell and Lisa Jobson only had two days to find a suitable replacement speaker to, hopefully, present the same topic. Using all the nfluence they could, they convinced Mike Flannery of the IBM AS/400 division in Rochester, MN to come to Toronto. In fact, Mike was pleased to accept the invitation: he needed an excuse to visit a 'tropical place'. Yes, at this time of the year, Toronto is warmer than Rochester, Minnesota. The week before the meeting, it was ­60F in Minnesota (as per Mike).

Mike's presentation was on how the AS/400 is using the PowerPC technology, how excellent the PowerPC technology is for the AS/400 and how easily we can use that technology and without disrupting our business especially when we compare to other platforms in the industry. Mike discussed the reasons for the AS/400 to choose PowerPC technology, how the AS/400 is using that technology, how the PowerPC technology for AS/400 is optimized for business computing.

I have not seen Bob Tipton's presentation on the PowerPC, but I am certain we didn't miss anything by having Mike instead. Mike may even have provided more technical details. If Ricardo is an expert in BRP, Mike is also an expert but in PowerPC, and it shows. Mike had less than two days to prepare for this presentation but it never showed during the evening. Mike was the best choice to replace Bob Tipton, especially on such short notice. In fact, when Bob learned that Mike would step in for him, he said that everything he knows about PowerPC, he had learned from Mike. Attendants just loved the presentation -- the evaluation sheets prove it.

In closing, I would like to congratulate Bob and his wife on the adoption of a baby girl born on January 25, 1996. Many happy years! T < G