I.T Manager Wins Emerging Talent Award

An IT manager at Christchurch web company Hairy Lemon had anything but a sour taste in his mouth after winning a CIO award last night.

Connon Daly took out the "Emerging ICT Talent" category at the CIO awards ceremony held in Auckland.

The emerging talent category is new this year, and aims to recognise New Zealand's top IT professionals under the age of 30.

Daly will now move to a general manager role at Hairy Lemon, which provides web design and search engine marketing services internationally and nationwide.

CIO judges praised Daly for the leadership of his IT team in the aftermath of the February earthquake.

"Connon impressed the judges with his leadership potential, committment to his organisation and customers, and his forward thinking."

Following the February 22 quake Hairy Lemon's original office on Victoria Street in Christchurch's CBD was flooded by automatic sprinklers, and the company's servers were inaccessible.

Daly used an iPhone to remotely access the server room in an attempt to prevent any immediate damage.

"We powered down our servers, and then when we realised they were OK we powered them back on," he said.

Daly and his team were then able to transfer several terabytes of key files across to a rented data centre.

"We repowered [the servers] back up, got them operational and then started moving the data off," he said.

"It cost a lot of money, but that was a low priority."

Daly also decided to "virtualise" the servers, a process which he said would secure data in the event of future disasters and be cost-effective in the long run. Virtualisation involved converting the existing servers, which are physical pieces of hardware, to virtual online storage.

"If our office gets destroyed we can basically have things up and running within two or three minutes,"  he said.

"We never wanted to have that kind of potential loss again."

The judges approved of Daly's forward-thinking in converting the physical servers to virtual ones which improve resilience and lowered costs.

Within two weeks of the quake, all Hairy Lemon systems were up and running with minimal inconvenience for clients, many of whom were, themselves, in limbo after the quake.

Daly co-ordinated the effort but recognised the work of his IT team.

"Credit to them, because they did a very good job."

The CIO awards ceremony also saw recruitment firm Potentia win in the "Excellence in IT Recruitment" category and ASB Bank's Russell Jones take out "CIO of the Year".