Reply to post: Re: ...then there's backup stories...

Rookie almost wipes customer's entire inventory – unbeknownst to sysadmin

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: ...then there's backup stories...

Once was supporting a MAGIC based system, a Pick-like OS that ran on X86 PCs to give a database environment with network terminals. The server has a "massive" 40 MB disk and a (from memory) a 20 MB tape system for backup. Nice clear instructions were provided for each site on how to run the backups with a proper 1 week 2 Friday tape cycle (6 tapes in total with the Fridays being stored off-site and returned on schedule).

So one of the machines had a disk crash and died. No problem, pulled out the spare server, set it up for that site, loaded the programs and went to the tapes to reload last nights data. Put in the relevant tape, pressed the restore, and up popped the message, "Load Tape 1". When queried, the operator said that this message had started to pop up a short while back - "Load Tape 2", and as there was not allocated "Tape 2" he just pushed the original tape back in.

So we quickly tested each of the available tapes, all 4 week tapes were tape 2, and so was the Friday tapes. Disaster, no backup at all. After some panic calls to a data recovery specialist who opined that there was a small chance that we could possibly recover the data from the tapes, emphasizing that the chance was small but the fees weren't, we agreed to send a couple of tapes up to try this option via urgent courier. While hunting around for a courier envelope, in a drawer of the operators desk we found a solitary tape marked Monday.

We asked the operator about it and he expressed surprise, he wondered where it had got to as he'd mislaid it and had used a new tape to replace it. He wasn't sure if it was before the system started asking for a second tape. So we shoved it in the tape unit, hit restore, and it restored. The data was a week old but at least we had somewhere to start !

Other story is going way, way back. The first PC's that HP made with a Hard Disk inside had a little oddity that they would only boot from drive A:, so the usual setup was that the hard disk was set to be Drive A:. While I was using the machine and had setup a significant amount of data on it for a test system, I wanted to take a break and someone else came along and decided to use the temporarily unattended machine to format a floppy disk. So the placed a floppy in the drive and typed format A: {enter}. When I arrived back at the machine they were still there wondering why it was taking so long to format a floppy disk...

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