If we can't find a working SCSI cable, the company will close tomorrow

www.theregister.co.uk | 7/15/2016 | Staff
kshama-s (Posted by) Level 3
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On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our Friday fumble through memories of jobs on which things didn't go as planned. Or sometimes went in ways it's not possible to plan.

This week, meet “Jean” who in the early noughties scored a gig as “a fairly new-to-the-game support engineer for a shifter of overpriced household furniture.”

Jean - Way - IT - Service - Experience

Jean told us she “managed to blag my way in with almost zero actual IT service experience but a shed-load of related electronics background.”

When Jean scored the gig, the furniture shifter had “just completed a major project, replacing the standalone IBM server and green screen terminals in each of their stores with a set of consolidated rack servers running NT4 terminal services back at HQ.” The terminal packages ran on full fat PCs in each store. The company had also “migrated all their data to a huge Oracle 7 database running on SCO Unix.” Yup, SCO!

Move - Database - Server - Backups - Which

The move the new database server meant that backups were critical. Which meant that on Jean's first day on the job, things got a bit tense when an IBM tape drive went TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance) in the middle of the night during a backup run.

Jean was on-call when the drive failed and by her own admission “extravagantly failed” to figure out what was going on with the backup.

News - Furniture - Company - Gold - Level

The good news was that the furniture company had signed up for Gold level support from IBM, complete with a promise of visits within four hours of calls being logged. Said engineer staggered in on a frigid January night, verified the drive was dead and promised a new one would be provided ASAP.

But by now the company had been without backups for two days and Jean and the rest of the IT crew received a visit from the head bean-counter.

“He told us...
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