APOLLO 13 was launched into orbit over three decades ago but more than a week ago, a group of over 10 people from diverse companies and countries were taken on an interactive journey to help bring the crippled spacecraft and its crew safely to earth.
The participants were assigned to do different things during the exercise. The setting was just like a command control room with crew on board but minus the many machines in a control room or the rocket.
Situation after situation were created to give the participants a feel of what actually happens in a control centre.
The whole idea of the interactive journey was to give participants firsthand knowledge of the roles of the mission operations ground crew and what it took to bring the craft down.
The sessions may have been informative but some participants were very tensed for it was not an easy job to bring the craft back.
One participant said he could not cope with the workflow and another was stressed out as he could not find a solution. The flight director said she failed in her test to direct the mission properly.
But that was just a simulation exercise. What happens if an untrained team has to man a control room?
To succeed, people, operational procedures and equipment must perform to perfection, said CA Inc director of business development Steve Haft.
Process design is important and when a problem occurs, solutions are needed. So, in any IT infrastructure, perfection is not only difficult to achieve but difficult to maintain.
Therefore, working with a reliable IT company was critical, given the complexity of networks and systems, he said.
The Apollo 13 simulation exercise was only one of the 800 workshops and seminars that were held during the CA World 2007 in Las Vegas from April 20 to 25.
These training sessions were important if any company wanted to ensure the people who run their IT departments know the correct procedures and processes to maximise the benefits of an IT infrastructure.
Besides the seminars and workshops, several key speakers also presented their keynote addresses on various topics.
This years CA World was held 18 months after the last event and the next one would be in 2008.
This year the event attracted nearly 8,000 participants from 70 countries of which over 6,000 were CAs customers, over 1,000 were partners and the rest its employees.
This is the 12th time that CA has organised such an event.
Over the years, it has evolved into a networking event between the company, its customers and partners.
It is also a place where new products and services are showcased and training sessions held.