Have you ever been in a server room that had you scratching your head, and wondering, “What were they thinking?” The images certainly don’t give you any warm fuzzies, do they?
Several years ago, I was part of a group that was invited to Houston to be the entertainment at a Christmas party. I was put up for the night at a local hotel, and in the morning arose early enough to visit the breakfast bar before being picked back up. I loaded a plate of food, and set it at an empty table in the small area, then decided I wanted a bowl of oatmeal. I returned to the breakfast bar and prepared the oatmeal. When I turned back to my seat, there was a gentleman seated at my table helping himself to my plate of food. I think I paused for a moment, dumbfounded at the sight, and then was wondering if I should approach him and ask if there was anything else I could get him, some more eggs, another biscuit, maybe a cup of coffee. At that moment, a woman stopped and said to him, “Harold, that’s not your food, our table is over here!” as she carried his plate of food to their table. She turned to me and apologized and told me she would get me another plate of food. The point is, in IT, be prepared for the unexpected.
If you are drinking the Microsoft Kool-Aid, and are using the built-in feature, Windows Server Backup in Server 2008 and up, you might be vulnerable to experiencing the unexpected. For some unknown reason, Gates and company neglected to include a reporting and alerting feature in the backup utility. Therefore, you can set your backup schedule flawlessly, and have backups running successfully night after night. But when the unexpected happens, and your backup fails for one reason or another, you won’t be alerted. Oh sure, the program writes an event to its own location in the Event Log, but you won’t get any notification. You have to manually check the logs. Fine, if you have a server or two, but what if you have a large number of servers to keep track of? You configured the backup, it has been running OK, so ignorance is bliss, what you don’t know can’t hurt you, right? The servers are humming along just fine. It’s an optical illusion, Jack! Einstein said, “Our separation from each other is an optical illusion of consciousness”. He was speaking about how we, as human beings, relate to each other. As long as we remain separated from each other even in the smallest of forms, we remain unaware of how it affects our whole environment. But the more conscious and self-aware we are, the less illusion there is. However, it’s also a good metaphor for our backup situation.