Our Members are the stewards of the vital infrastructure that keeps their communities afloat, and they know that keeping the lights on 24/7 requires proactive planning in the face of the unforeseen. Meridian provides Disaster Recovery (DR) services in the event of a natural disaster, hardware failure, power outage, human error, cybersecurity incident, or other potentially crippling event that strikes your co-op. Such an unforeseen incident happened to our friends at Park EC in Montana last August, where snow melt coupled with historic rainfall caused catastrophic flooding. Luckily, Meridian’s Technical Support team invoked the DR system for Park Electric.
“The water had risen to 800-year flood levels,” explained Marc Freedman, Manager of Technical Services Advanced Solutions at Meridian. “Park Electric’s basement was under water and all its servers had been turned off and moved. The Park Electric team was focused on restoring service to their members, and this was a lot easier for them to do with a functional database and payment system.”
Meridian Cooperative currently provides DR to roughly 200 UPN and Meridian customers. The DR system pulls data logs twice per hour, creating a backup database that restores nearly all of a utility’s records when disaster strikes.
“In the case of Park Electric, we took the database copy, moved it to a separate environment, worked through the night, and had their DR system up and running by the time they were ready to login again. This is the first time we’ve set up a co-op to take payments, as well,” shared Marc.
DR work typically happens during off-hours, and involves teams from across Meridian like Technical Support, DBA, DevOps, Network Operations, and Financial Services. In total, about a dozen employees get involved, and they review all situations in a post-mortem internally, and with the Member. We also offer a testing option and schedule staged disasters as learning experiences. At Meridian, we serve our members so they can more easily serve theirs. This is especially evident when disaster strikes! Don’t be caught unaware. Does your utility have a plan for the unexpected?