Mincom keeps afloat in Brisbane amidst flood disaster

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by Fran Foo

GREG Clark was 10 years old when floods ravaged his Brisbane home in 1974.

Now, as head of Mincom, he has some of Australia’s largest technology users relying on his company as Queensland braves the devastating floods.

Mr Clark stands ready to flick the switch on disaster recovery procedures should the need arise.

However, having multiple data centres spread across different countries is a boon, especially in times of natural disaster.

Brisbane has been ravaged by the floods; the city is like a ghost town with companies including SAP and Microsoft shutting their offices.

Energex, coincidentally a Mincom client, has cut power supply in Brisbane and other areas, with around 96,000 customers affected.

The who’s who of the resources industry rely on technology services from Mincom, whose Brisbane data centre perched high on a hill has so far escaped the deluge.

Mincom counts BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Defence as clients. Others include Newcrest Mining, Xstrata Coal, Oz Minerals, Xstrata Copper, and Woodside Petroleum.

Mincom is also one of Queensland’s largest IT employers with almost 700 people in Brisbane — 70 per cent of its global workforce.

Mr Clark said staff have been urged to stay home, with non-essential operations have been temporarily closed: “Our employees’ safety comes first.”

“We have a significant data centre in the Brisbane CBD … it’s up high in a building and the building is on a hill, which is good,” he said.

“We have elaborate data centres in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Santiago, Chile and the US … touch wood we’re still online in Brisbane but, if we have to, we’re ready to execute disaster recovery procedures there.”

The company was criticised when it decided to offshore some of its data centre services, but the move has proven to be a wise one.

“We did take a little heat for offshoring some of our data centres but this is when it pays off … in times like these, that is an advantage.”

Mincom has its own generator and would be able to survive should Energex turn off the power, he said. The company also has three separate telecommunications providers.

Mr Clark said the company was in constant communication with employees and customers, who had yet to register any complaints.

The floods have reignited horrific memories of the floods 37 years ago.

“I grew up in Brisbane so (this) is definitely a serious and concerning event. My family is there and I’m in constant contact with them,” Mr Clark said in an interview from New York.

“I remember the floods well … I lived up on a hill in Kenmore in ’74 and, looking out the window, I couldn’t believe it (had) turned into a sea … it was amazing, the lizards and snakes were in the backyard.

“We had provisions helicoptered in because it took some time for the water to subside.”

Seventy five per cent of Queensland has been declared a disaster zone by Premier Anna Bligh.

Source: www.theaustralian.com.au