US ATTACK: Hardware vendors moving to help IT hit by attacks

Hardware vendors, many with major client installations in the World Trade Center, have set up crisis-response teams and command centers to handle emergency requests for equipment by companies affected by Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Dell Computer Corp. has already heard from most of the 80 major clients that used its equipment in the World Trade Center complex and nearby buildings, said Matt Boucher, a spokesman for the PC maker. As of Thursday afternoon, the company had received orders for almost 5,000 laptops, desktop computers and servers, which it's in the process of shipping out to clients on a priority basis, Boucher said.

Dell's U.S. Department of Defense and government customers will get top priority when it comes to shipping replacement systems, Boucher said. The next highest priority will be for health service organizations that lost equipment in the disaster, with commercial customers coming after that.

"Orders from [affected companies] automatically go to the front of the line," he said. "We have set up a dedicated team in our factories to manage these order."

Hewlett-Packard Co. is shipping systems to affected customers on a similar priority basis, according to Bob Floyd, general manager of operations at HP. Government and health care customers top the company's list, followed by clients in the airline industry and then commercial customers.

The company has established two crisis centers to handle emergency customer requests. One center is focused on managing HP's internal processes, as well as engineering and manufacturing resources needed to quickly respond to customer needs, Floyd said.

The other center is being used to manage the equipment staging and shipping process, using whatever transportation is available given the current slowdown in air travel, Floyd said.

By Thursday afternoon, HP had received calls from 24 customers requesting everything from server and storage equipment replacements to help with setting up equipment in alternate locations, Floyd said.

So far, HP has identified about 20,000 square feet of temporary space near its facility in Paramus, N.J., where it can accommodate as many as 1,000 users. It also has identified 40,000 square feet in New York, Floyd said. So far, none of its customers have asked for space in either of the facilities, Floyd said.

"Most customers are still assessing their needs," he said.

Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys Corp. had "several dozen" customers in the World Trade Center complex to whom it was providing both equipment and services, said company spokesman Brian Daly. Unisys has offered recovery services, he said.

For example, for one large public-sector customer that was headquartered in the complex, Unisys has set up a call center staffed by 70 people at one of its facilities in Rochester, N.Y., Daly said. Unisys also helped a large brokerage firm set up a 150-person trading floor at an alternate location in New Jersey, he added.

Sun Microsystems Inc. has established a Sun Support Forum Recovery Assistance Web site that gives systems administrators a range of patches, contact information and discussion forums aimed at helping them quickly recover computing services based on Sun equipment.

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