Future Tech

Bad vibrations left techie shaken up during overnight database rebuild

Tan KW
Publish date: Fri, 24 May 2024, 05:46 PM
Tan KW
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Future Tech

On Call In case the working week has given you bad vibrations, The Register devotes Friday mornings to a fresh instalment of On Call - our (hopefully) cathartic reader-contributed tales of tech support chores that left your peers shaken and stirred.

This week, meet a reader we'll Regomize as "Don," who told us of his time in charge of tech at a business that exclusively employed Macs.

Don's tale took place in the '80s and involved the little-lamented AppleTalk protocol, proprietary routers, and 56k modems - all pressed into service to connect multiple locations in the Midwest of the US, and to connect those outposts to their printers.

The biz wherein Don toiled was open six days a week, which meant that when the time came to upgrade its accounting software, he decided to start the job on a Sunday afternoon.

"I knew the upgrade would take several hours, so this would leave me time to roll it back should there be an issue. So I settled in at my desk did my backups and broke out the upgrade checklist," he told On Call.

One item on that list was a database rebuild.

Which failed.

So Don restored a backup and set the rebuild in motion again.

And it failed again.

Then again.

By now the clock had ticked past midnight, and Don had a dilemma. Should he do a rollback and head home, which would mean devoting another Sunday to the job? Or should he press on and risk leaving the company in a mess when business resumed on Monday morning?

As he pondered those choices, Don made one more attempt to rebuild the database. This time decided that, instead of watching a progress bar, he would stretch his legs and visit the server room where the kit he was trying to upgrade lived.

When he entered the room, all was well. The Mac that ran the accounting software sat there with lights blinking merrily, an adjacent dot matrix printer dormant.

Then - noise and movement! The printer buzzed into life. And the lights on the Mac became less merry.

Don checked the machine from which he was driving the upgrade. It reported the database rebuild had failed again.

The solution to this situation was simple: Don picked up the printer and put it on the ground, so its vibrations would not disturb the server.

His next database rebuild attempt worked, and the upgrade finished without incident.

"Feeling incredibly stupid/humbled/annoyed/exhausted, I sat down on the carpet and stared at the wall until my co-workers came in," Don told On Call. "They signed off on the migration and I went home."

Don's efforts earned him Monday off. First thing on Tuesday he brought a proper rack for the server - so in future he would only have to handle good vibrations.

Has your tech shaken ever shaken itself silly? Click here to send On Call an email and we may share your story on a future Friday. ®

 

https://www.theregister.com//2024/05/24/on_call/

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