Terrorist attack affects internet, MRO deliveries

Internet recovers quickly after attackAccording to a statement released by Matrix.Net Inc., a U.S.-based internet performance measurement company, the internet infrastructure in the U.S. appeared to be functioning close to normal, just hours after the series of devastating terrorist attacks struck New York City and Washington, D.

By Jack Smith, Senior Editor, Plant Engineering Magazine October 1, 2001
Internet recovers quickly after attack
Business as usual
Expect delays
Consortium formed to promote uptime
A case for thin clients

Internet recovers quickly after attack

According to a statement released by Matrix.Net Inc., a U.S.-based internet performance measurement company, the internet infrastructure in the U.S. appeared to be functioning close to normal, just hours after the series of devastating terrorist attacks struck New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11. The statement said that immediately following the attacks, the internet experienced a significant drop in performance marked by increased packet loss and difficulty in reaching some web sites. While the drop in performance was significant, it was short-lived and the U.S. internet infrastructure returned to near-normal performance “within about an hour,” it said. The stresses that the U.S. internet infrastructure was subjected to in the aftermath of the attack was the greatest encountered over its 32-year history, according to the statement.

(Source: Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service/Taipei Bureau)

Business as usual

HyperDynamics Corp., an integrated technology service provider, has implemented its plan to help businesses stay working under the most severe circumstances. Under the plan, the company immediately allocated a significant portion of its data center resources at cost to provide companies with a secure solution for protecting the integrity of their business systems. Its integrated technology center (ITC) provides a professional platform for data backup and failsafe redundancy.

Any company in the U.S. is invited to contact HyperDynamics regarding its offer and will be asked to go through a qualification process. Interested companies may contact Bob Hill, senior vice president, at 800/471-1834, or e-mail him at bhill@hypd.com . Each qualifying company will be required to execute a nondisclosure with HyperDynamics and will be provided with a custom-fit solution. Companies from Manhattan are being given priority.

HyperDynamics is challenging its alliance partners Microsoft, AT&T, Cisco Systems, and Intel to do the same. The company is asking for software and equipment donations, if at all possible, so that it can ensure minimum cost. HyperDynamics has also been discussing the possibility of a low-cost bundle of T-1 lines to help reduce connectivity costs.

Expect delays

Immediately after the terrorist attacks on the morning of September 11, the U.S. Customs Service switched from normal operations to Alert Level One, which calls for “sustained, intensive antiterrorism operation at land borders and at all points of entry.” Heightened concerns about the vulnerability of trucks, ships, and the railroad system “have prompted tighter security measures that won’t go away anytime soon,” said John Holmes, supervisory special agent for Customs.

The most obvious repercussion of the increased scrutiny of vehicles has been the border delays for trucks at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders. It has been especially pronounced at the U.S.-Canada border, where there are about 200 million border crossings annually, with an estimated $360 billion of traded goods. Commercial vehicle border crossings that typically used to take truckers about 20 min stretched to 15 to 20 hr in the first week after the terrorist attack. The waiting time has been reduced since then — although 8-to-9-hr waits still were occurring at some key points of entry as of this writing — as Customs agents search each truck and its manifest plus the driver’s licenses, passports, or birth certificates.

Increased security in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington continued to disrupt businesses that rely on the cost-saving strategy of just-in-time (JIT) delivery of materials and parts. Also, clearances have been slowed for cargoes at ports and international airports. Upshot: “Approximately 75% of our production, office products, and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) goods have been arriving on time,” said Alan Tullo, purchasing manager for Serta Mattress Co. in Linden, N.J., a week after the attacks. “Normally about 90-95% of these items arrive on time.”

A week after the terrorist bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 45% of the buyers polled online by Purchasing Magazine had seen a dramatic impact on supply chain activities, while another 30% reported slight impact and 25% saw no effect on deliveries.

(Source: Tom Stundza with additional reporting by Anne Millen Porter, Dave Hannon, and Christopher Reilly of Purchasing Magazine and Peter Bradley of Logistics Management)

Consortium formed to promote uptime

Stratus Technologies, Intel, Microsoft, Hitachi, NEC, and Toshiba have combined resources to establish the Fault Tolerant Server Consortium (FTSC) to provide continuously available systems. Launched in Japan, the consortium expects to grow into a worldwide organization as more IT product manufacturers bring fault tolerant products to market.

As demand for uninterrupted computing operations intensifies, many businesses are forced to reconcile this demand with increasingly tight budget restrictions. The FTSC will strive to educate businesses on how they can make 99.999% uptime and system availability a reality at extremely low prices.

ICONICS, a provider of web-enabled industrial automation software, announced at the Instrument Society of America (ISA) Conference that it has entered into a global partnership agreement with Stratus Technologies, a maker of server technologies, to provide a complementary, fault tolerant hardware/software solution for manufacturing operations.

Under terms of this agreement, the Stratus ftServer system will serve as the fault tolerant computing platform for the OPC-Based GENESIS32 Enterprise Edition, Version 6.1, SCADA software from ICONICS. The software running on this hardware platform is intended to deliver performance, efficiency, and simplicity to plant floor operations, decreasing human machine interface (HMI) time while enabling an uninterrupted flow of real-time production data from the plant floor to management information systems.

A case for thin clients

According to a recent survey conducted by thin client technology company ACP, the top five reasons for choosing a thin client are:

  • Saving money—30%.

  • Reducing downtime—20%.

  • Data and system security—18%.

  • Support current applications—12%.

  • Single installation and maintenance of application software—8%.