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A Sysadmin’s Worst Nightmares

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Feeling like the world is falling apart, your heart is pounding and cold sweat is pouring down your face as you realize that something has gone completely wrong?

Welcome to the life of a system administrator!

If you’re a sysadmin, then you know what I’m talking about. You’re not alone in this predicament — that terrible moment when a small error that seems insignificant to others becomes your worst nightmare.

For an extra spooky Halloween, let me share some of the hair-raising (and sometimes foolish) incidents that have thrown some sysadmins off balance with question marks flying around the head.

WEB-4986 - [BLOG] Blog post for Halloween - Twitter 3

Disasters happen… be prepared!

Earlier in my career, I worked as a systems administrator assistant at a law firm. The sysadmin was always careful when it came to backups and made sure he had copies of everything.

As it turned out, he used to create only one copy and store it in the data center, which was in a basement. On one unfortunate night, there was a burst pipe in the basement and the water flooded the entire data center. As a result, critical backup data was destroyed with no chance of recovery, leaving the law firm without months’ worth of backups.

Moral of the story

Never forget about the 3-2-1 backup strategy: Make sure you have more than one set of backups in different locations in case a disaster like a flood happens.

Anti-virus is not always practical!

With the Covid-19 situation and everybody working from home, the chance of your system getting infected with viruses and other malware significantly increases.

This happened recently; a friend told me that he had to clean weird types of malware from a user’s laptop.He was ultimately so sick and tired with the laptop that he had to wipe the entire drive. The user couldn’t understand why their anti-virus software didn’t protect them.

Moral of the story

Relying solely on anti-virus software without safe online behavior increases the likelihood of getting infected with a virus at some point in the future.

Toy Story

Remember Toy Story 2?

Pixar’s movie almost didn’t happen due to a backup issue. One tech worker used a “/bin/rm -r -f *” command and accidentally deleted 90% of the movie! What made the matter worse is that their backups weren’t functional and hadn’t been tested for quite a long time.

Fortunately for us, the supervising technical director was regularly creating a new backup copy once a week and storing it on her laptop.

Moral of the story

Make sure you regularly test your backups and ensure that they are functional and none are damaged. Having reliable backups is essential for every business to resume operations in the event of a disaster.

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Have you had your worst nightmare come true in your work? Get into the Halloween spirit and share the story that haunts you to this day in the comments below!

But wait… there’s something special we have prepared for you! We know that you’re too busy putting out fires everywhere, but it is high time for you to take a break and have some fun. Take this short Halloween quiz we have created specially for sysadmins to help you find out who you should be for Halloween!

A Sysadmin’s Worst Nightmares
5 (100%) 3 votes

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