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True IT blooper #31: IT white lies

In addition to monitoring server rooms, guarding against e-mail viruses and sustaining networks, IT pros must sometimes tell white lies. This one backfired

In addition to monitoring server rooms, guarding against e-mail viruses and sustaining networks, IT pros must sometimes...

tell white lies.

All went black around me, and I had taken the domain controller to a work area with no backup power.
,

Blooper number 68 comes from an IT pro we'll call Gary in Belgium. His white lie backfired.

In his first year out of college, Gary was the IT guru for a small company that used a domain controller server that ran Windows NT. The company used the domain controller for the file server of an "exotic custom-made logistic/sales/invoice program."

Gary was in the throes of a scheduled Windows 2000 upgrade, and the sales program was destined to make it difficult.

"I didn't want to take any risks," he said. "So I took two backups from the complete program and database files, one on disk to another computer and another on tape."

He told the staff a white lie to smooth the upgrade. He said the sales program wasn't accessible during the upgrade process. Gary disconnected the domain controller from the network and retreated to his office, where he hoped to perform the upgrade without interruption. The upgrade had been scheduled two weeks in advance.

"After I asked them to let me concentrate on my work, it took them ten whole minutes to ask me an urgent question," he recalled.

A customer needed some information that was stored in the sales program.

"To them I was the geek who played with the computers," he said. "They were much older and had more experience in business and customer relations. So I followed orders."

Gary re-connected the server to the network and instructed colleagues to only view the information and not to change or print it. He continued the upgrade but had to wait for colleagues to finish with the sales program before he could reboot and continue. He waited an hour and a half.

While Gary was doing the upgrade, a colleague noticed she could in fact get into the sales program. She secretly shared this with her coworkers, and everyone entered data that was never backed up.

Then the building's power went out.

"All went black around me, and I had taken the domain controller to a work area with no backup power," he said.

The server booted but all data was lost, the drive toasted. He did a fresh Windows 2000 install, and by the end of the day, a Friday, he had restored the sales data with the backup tapes.

Monday morning several scathing e-mails greeted Gary. Sales data was missing. He asked around the office, and learned workers had inputted sales data during the upgrade.

They didn't believe his white lie.

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