15 years later what has changed?

15 years later what has changed?

When the servers third hard drive failed one lovely Thursday morning, we could no longer work. 30 people doing not very much, waiting for the engineer to come. This was 2001, before remote access was available for everyone. Monitoring a server was something you did watching the tennis. Wow 120kph, that was a fast serve.

No one knew that two other hard drives had failed beforehand, this was a catastrophic event, when the engineer turned up, saw the problem, and almost quit on the spot. He did not want to deal with the problem that has he was faced with. IT WAS THAT BAD! Once he settled down (I think that he a couple of nerve calmers down at the local pub), he ordered the replacement hard drives, and a couple of days later they arrived. (DAYS!) The hard drives were restored to a functioning array (that took almost a day), then he could restore the data from tape, that was more than a week old, and it took two days to complete the restore. If you have been counting, that was 2 days’ down for hardware, 1 day rebuild, 2 days to restore the data, the middle of the following week.

Then we had to manually input everything that had been done since the weekend backup almost 2 weeks prior, I had to recreate all my drawings, and then once finished data entry into our line of business application, and catch up and continue with all the new work that had come in while we were down.

30 people for a week, cleaning the offices, enjoying long lunchbreaks in the sun, being paid to wait, some took a few days off, but not everyone.

What did we learn from this? The accounts person was away, and no one had changed the tapes, the server was out of warranty, and parts were hard to come by, no one was periodically checking the server, no one had tested the backups, so we did not know just how long the other disks had not been working for. Back then salaries were $30-50,000 picking $40,000 that’s $770 per week x 30 people, that is a little over $23,000 for ONE WEEK, plus all the lost productivity having to redo what was lost, as I was just a worker bee back then I do not know what it would have cost for someone to organise proactive maintenance, but I am sure it would not have been anywhere that much.

So what has changed in the last 15 years?

Not much, if your server is out of warranty, parts are still sourced from overseas, if you don’t monitor the server’s health, you do not know when something goes wrong until it stops, and by then it is too late. With larger hard drives, rebuilding arrays still take a while. Some arrays can be restored to while they’re being rebuilt, but that slows down both the rebuild and the restore process. If you are using the built in tools to backup and restore a server, you better have tested it first, there is not much room for error.

How can I reduce the likelihood of this happening to me?

Having a trained professional completing your monthly maintenance, having a scheduled site visit at least once every month or two, having all of your services email our actively monitored helpdesk. How often have you received a phone call from us saying that the backups have failed, have you changed the disk? Will this cost you a lot of money? Only if you don’t contact us. Let us identify how you can have our extensive proactive maintenance for the right cost you can contact us either by phoning 0800727929 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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