CXO

Heat wave? No sweat for CIOs

CIO Jury: "I have also started to do rain dances"

The hot weather the UK has been experiencing in the past week or so doesn't seem to have caused too many headaches in IT departments across the country.

The latest silicon.com CIO Jury poll asked tech chiefs whether they'd taken any extra steps to protect their technology infrastructure during this week's heat wave, with nine of the 12 revealing they haven't.

Neil Harvey, IT director of events business Sindlesham Court, said protection against extreme weather should form part of everyday IT planning.

"These sorts of weather 'extremes' risks would normally be included in fit-for-purpose disaster recovery and business continuity planning. After all these are not historically unique conditions to the UK, nor particularly infrequent."

Alastair Behenna, CIO of recruitment consultancy, Harvey Nash, said his business had already been improving its preparedness for more extreme weather over the past few years.

"And, of course, we live in hope that our third-party suppliers have done the same. That's of far more concern to me given the diminishing budgets and funding we all face this year," he added.

Chris Broad, head of information systems and technology at the UK Atomic Energy Authority, said that his team had merely checked that its automatic temperature alerts were working and that the air conditioning had been serviced.

In contrast, three of the Jury have put additional plans in place to protect their systems due to the weather.

Spencer Steel, IT manager at recruitment services company Informatiq Consulting, has had a particularly tough time.

"It feels like my whole week has been eaten up with the problems of the hot weather. My server room air-conditioning unit chose the beginning of this week to give up the ghost, despite all the engineers' best efforts to save it. An army of temporary portable units was bought in, whilst the main system was totally ripped out and cranes were hired to lift up condenser units onto the roof. It's been a bit chaotic and quite scary at times but I'm pleased to report it's all back to normal," he said.

Less drastically, Gavin Megnauth, operations director at recruitment company Morgan Hunt, decided to bring in portable air conditioning units into his team's communications room, "to stop our sweaty servers from shutting themselves down (which happened last weekend!)".

Similarly Mike Roberts, IT director at the London Clinic, set up portable air conditioning units but also took the precaution of increasing the uninterruptable power supply coverage due to unreliable mains power.

"I have also started to do rain dances!" he joked.

This CIO Jury was:

  • Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
  • Chris Broad, head of information systems and technology, UK Atomic Energy Authority
  • Chris Ford, IT Director, Nottingham City Council
  • Steve Gediking, head of IT, Independent Police Complaints Commission
  • Paul Haley, director of information technology, University of Aberdeen
  • Neil Harvey, IT director, Sindlesham Court
  • John Keeling, CIO, John Lewis
  • Gavin Megnauth, director of operations and group IT, Morgan Hunt
  • Mike Roberts, IT Director, The London Clinic
  • Spencer Steel, IT manager, Informatiq Consulting
  • Richard Storey, head of IT, Guys & St Thomas Hospital
  • Steve Williams, director of information systems and services, Newcastle University

Want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury and have your say on the hot issues for IT departments? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com

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