True IT Blooper #35: Booze boy botches backup

One project manager learns that he should put his social life on hold the night before critical work.

Tommy Tulate's* project team was testing and implementing a disaster recovery solution for a client.

After diligent lab tests, the big day arrived -- it was time to install the tested software on the live backup server.

A few minutes into the installation, the phone rang. It was an urgent call for Tulate. "I have to take this. Can you continue the install?" he asked a colleague who had helped him perform initial testing in the lab.

"Sure thing," replied his colleague, who had been out for a "big night on the town" before that morning's installation attempt.

A few minutes later, Tulate came back into the room to check the replication settings. To his horror, he saw that his colleague had set replication for the c:winnt folder.

"Stop! You're doing it wrong!" he said.

"No, this is right. This is how we tested it in the lab, remember?" his colleague replied, while matter-of-factly clicking the OK button.


The disaster recovery server had suffered its own disaster -- a hung-over, sluggish-brained IT guy with an itchy trigger finger.

Luckily no damage was done. But since the client ran its production line seven days a week, completion of the project was delayed for two more months. Had the client's primary system failed during that time, it would have cost around $40,000 a day in downtime penalties from active customers.

Tommy Tulate's words of wisdom -- and warning to future moonshine happy, sleep-deprived colleagues: Put your social life on hold the night before critical work.

*Name changed to protect the innocent.

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