When the server dies

Brick wall

For a moment, I hit a brick wall. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

I’ve been “away” since last…Thursday. You know, trying to write and keep up with my news reader. It’s been pretty crazy at work. I’ve had a lot to do, but it probably didn’t take as much brain power as it would to restore a whole system, upgrade software on the server, fend off excessive questions, figure out how to restore Exchange data for 200+ accounts to a newer version of Exchange…you get the idea.

The story

When the building was reconstructed, the contractor thought the server room needed a water pipe (since there was going to be an air conditioner inside). He didn’t know it was going to go to the roof.

Last Wednesday, a coworker was trying to turn on the dishwasher. One of the switches was for that water pipe that went into the server room. He flipped the switch, and water started flowing on top of one of the servers. (Not his fault, it wasn’t marked – it was just there.) Fortunately, the water only affected the Exchange and domain server. We have another one for ProLaw, and the other data and switches were on the rack. Something like that.

On Wednesday, Scot was able to upgrade the rack to the Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003. As of Tuesday, I think everything is basically back to normal. Everyone has access to their data, email, calendar, and contacts. The rest is just minor issues here and there, and updating the lesser-used computers to the new domain.

For me, the feeling of crossing off the names of the staff one by one kept me going. Plus, everyone was so nice and understanding. Through it all, Scot didn’t lose his cool. He might have gotten close, but I never saw it – he kept it together.

What can I learn from this?

Some of the staff commented how much they missed everything. The files they were currently working on, plus their calendar, contacts, and email.

  • Print your calendar for the upcoming week regularly. You can make changes on this paper by hand, then update the calendar when you get back to your computer.
  • Print important email. If it’s really that important, this is a good idea anyway.
  • Print your contact list periodically. You put this off, but when you lose it for a period time, you realize how valuable this is.
  • Use a PDA. This is fragile, too, so I backup to a SD memory card using BackupBuddyVFS. I sync this to my home and work computer, so I think I have all the angles covered.
  • Sync frequently used files to a USB flash drive. Try running PathSync from that drive, too. I love it.

The main one that deserves it’s own section: delete email. Have you read Inbox Zero? I’m happy to say I practice what I preach. (Well, Merlin preaches those articles, but you know what I mean.)

That’s it for now. I’ll be going into work tomorrow as well, with hopefully everything settling back down. Four days this week – amazing!

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Community Guardian at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

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