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In the dark, Motazedi found his server rack, which had "accordioned" down with the weight of the fallen building. He put a tarp over the server rack because up to two more inches of rain were expected later that night.
Meanwhile, a nearby search and rescue team saw Motazedi, who had a flashlight, and summoned him over. They said there might still be bodies in some buildings to the south. "Luckily, we didn't find anything," Motazedi said. "I went home about 1:30 but didn't sleep at all. At 5 a.m. I just got up."
He went back to the remnants of SNC Squared's office and started to pull out any equipment and supplies that could be salvaged.
"When I got there I saw the [server] rack; a wall had fallen on it but it seemed dry because of the tarp. We needed Sawzalls and wire cutters to get the stuff out. We poured water out of a couple of them. We got them to my house and opened them up, blew them out and dried them off. I found a network switch, said some Hail Marys and turned them on," Motazedi said.
Almost miraculously, many of the servers fired up, although some firewalls and switches had to go in the trash can. He made a list of equipment he still needed to create a temporary NOC in his basement and had employees hit every store within a 40-mile radius to retrieve the items.
"We had some spare firewalls at my house. We did the routing. We worked with three different companies: Zenith [Infotech], Datto and eFolder. All of them were phenomenal," said Motazedi. "We had to get power from every outlet in the house. We have extension cords coming in through windows, from the garage, from upstairs to power all this stuff. We actually had 21 servers at one point running [in the basement]."
At 2 p.m. Monday, clients were back up on all three solutions, he said, only five business hours after the tornado struck the night before.
If the servers had failed, Motazedi said he could have had replacements within 24 hours, but he was proud of the fact that he had customers online the first business day.
SNC Squared had a "pseudo [disaster recovery] plan," Motazedi said. "It came out of a plan for what happens if an employee goes rogue. What key things do you need to protect? That included passwords and access to servers. Then, do you have all the vendor information you need and so you need to secure any portals?"
Motazedi credits help from other VARs in his Heartland Tech Groups chapter, including at least two who traveled from Minnesota and Arkansas to provide on-the-ground support. Executives from another Joplin VAR, Heartland Technology Solutions, as well as Network Data Services in Little Rock, Ark., and Success Computing in Minneapolis joined SNC employees on salvage missions from customer locations.
"We were hosting clients' servers in our NOC at 2 p.m. Monday. The remainder of the day, we started contacting every one of our clients to say, 'We're showing you down in LabTech and wanted to confirm that you are down.' We put together a list of our managed services clients and put them in priority followed by our break/fix clients," Motazedi said.