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Re: Synopsis of a database crash and recovery (or time to bash RAID 5).

From: Rachel Carmichael <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 13:16:05 GMT
Message-Id: <>


I'm not trusting at all... which is why *I* check everything, even when I turn it over, until I know that the person running the jobs for me is doing it right. I write documentation so that my mom (okay, so she's computer literate now, I guess maybe I should write for my dad <G>) can run the jobs based on my documentation (yes, I include "press the key labelled 'enter'"). Heck, I've been known to stay late when I train someone to watch them read through and do the steps as written in my docs so that I can refine the documentation when they don't understand a step.

But then, I *am* from NY and we don't trust anyone :)


>From: guy ruth hammond <>
>To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L <>
>Subject: Re: Synopsis of a database crash and recovery (or time to bash
>RAID 5).
>Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 01:09:53 -0800
>Rachel Carmichael wrote:
> > You said that the server crashed in January and that exports and
>shutdown of
> > database before backup had therefore not been done since then. HOW COME
> > ONE NOTICED???????????????????????????????? We are talking over 5
> > here.
>Ah, Rachel, you are young and trusting and we wuvs you!
>A story I heard once went like this: A government installation had just
>hired a new operator for their mainframe. An "operator" is to a sysadmin
>like a junior DBA is to a senior DBA, they are expected to do the day to
>day maintenance of the system. In this case, the operator's primary job was
>to run the nightly backup script, which the sysadmin had written. (I don't
>know how it was organized before, I presume the sysadmin used to stay
>behind and do it, but then he acquired commitments that meant he had to
>leave earlier. Or maybe he just got bored. But I digress). In the version
>I heard, the operator was a grad student who worked nights. The sysadmin
>showed her how to log on, run the backup script, etc, and she said she
>understood, so he left her to it. Every night she'd come in, start the
>job on a batch queue, then go and sit in the sysadmin's office and study.
>The system was used to process records throughout the year, and was cleared
>out at the end of the year, so the volume of the data in it (and hence the
>backup capacity required) increased over the year. Near the end of the year
>(I don't know whether it was a calendar, fiscal or academic year) the
>sysadmin asked the operator if she thought she'd need more tapes, but she
>just looked at him blankly. Every evening, she'd logged in, and started the
>backup job, then went away - but after a short delay, the terminal warned
>that there was no tape in the drive. After five minutes, the terminal
>security settings had cleared the screen and logged her off, and whenever
>she'd checked, there were no messages on the screen, and everything looked
>So what had happened was, she never knew that she needed to insert the
>into the drive manually, and he'd never thought that he needed to review
>the backup logs now that he'd hired an operator. Fortunately, nothing had
>gone wrong during the year, and he was able to run a complete level 0
>backup there and then.
>I don't know whether this story is true or not, but it just illustrates
>that as soon as a system starts to require human communication, there is
>immediately an inherent risk associated. It also illustrates that when
>you take responsibility for a system, check every assumption that you
>make, and verify everything that you are told.
>guy ruth hammond <> | One is punished for being
>Technology Analysis & Consulting | weak, not for being cruel.
>07879607148 | -- Baudelaire
>Author: guy ruth hammond
>Fat City Network Services -- (858) 538-5051 FAX: (858) 538-5051
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Received on Tue Jun 13 2000 - 08:16:05 CDT

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