While planning a recent vacation to Europe, the Systems Engineer in me was working in full swing. There were so many exciting things to consider: What to see? Where to eat? More importantly, how would my wife and I recover in case of a travel disaster? Managing disaster has become a part of our American psyche these days it would seem. After all, isn’t this essentially what I do when architecting customer solutions?
How could I apply various Disaster Recovery (DR) models to travel life?
DR Model # 1: Remote Survivability
For Europe, I decided right away that it would be wise to invest in a money belt as recommended by world traveler Rick Steves. Wearing it, of course, would be my wife’s job since I have a hard time finding where I just set my cup of Starbucks Chai Latte. This money belt would hold our passports, a credit card and some cash. In case of a major disaster like being robbed of everything, it would provide us REMOTE SURVIVABILITY, thereby allowing us to get back to the U.S. regardless.
DR Model # 2: Hot Standby or Switchover
Both my wife and I would carry our wallets with respective ids, credit cards and cash (of course her wallet would have more cash). She carries a purse and I carry my stuff in a place that is ideal for a thief to help himself…my back pocket. In case I lose my wallet, we can immediately switch over to her wallet and continue travelling the German Romantic Road.
DR Model # 3: n+1 redundancy
I already made four photocopies of all our credit cards, passports, ids, and important travel documents, Eurail tickets, hotel reservations, insurance etc. We would carry a set in each of our carry-on bags as well as one more in our checked luggage. That way, if the airline looses our checked luggage we still have it in our handbags and vice versa. What would we do if we lost our entire luggage you ask? Please continue reading DR model number 4.
DR Model # 4: n X m redundancy
I stored a digital copy of all the above documents on a file server which could be accessed from the internet by either of us. If I get hit by a car because I crossed the road looking the wrong way and end up in the hospital, my wife can still access my insurance info.
I enthusiastically presented the above DR models to my wife expecting sound praise. She just looked at me and told me that I was thinking WAY too much about this. Then she took over and promised that she would take care of all of this, and told me I should not be obsessing about disasters on our idyllic vacation. You see, just like how our customers differ in their needs for disaster aversion and recovery, people in general all have different comfort levels and requirements with various degrees of DR.
I decided that her decidedly more “go with the flow attitude” had some merit, and I handed the contingency plans over to her. I guess that could be considered as…..
DR Model #5: Hosted Disaster Recovery