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The Perversity of Murphy’s laws

Your worst eneny isn't your competitor or the market place - it's Murphy ...

If you’re in the business of business you deal with Murphy’s Laws every day and take them very seriously. The last 2 days have literally shaken me and brought my cognition of Murphy’s evilness to a new level. Read on to be amased … and horrified …

It was a lovely Wednesday afternoon and I was looking forward to a relaxing evening – gym, turkish bath and some quality time spent with my sons.

I was just about to leave the office when we were struck by a sudden and prolonged black-out. It was never ending. Why is a black out a problem ? Because we have a limited number of servers and host web sites Email etc.

The UPS was holding in well but anxiety was growing by the second. We shut down non essential services but after nearly 2 hours our UPS gave in. By that time it was 8:00 PM and finally the essential service was back. I waited 10 minutes before turning on all machines and had physically disconnected all servers from power points, knowing power surges can be lethal.

In Italian we say you can see a glass half full or half empty – I see if as half full, thinking to myself we were fortunate to be on site when this occurred. After all it was an unexpected and uncontrolled network problem.

Power was back and we connected servers that went online and the “emergency” had been well handled … the best was yet to come.

As I was about to leave to office and head for the gym another black out. This time the UPS was not able to hold the servers and they all went down … we scrambled to disconnect them again. The fun was just beginning.

Later on (around 10:00 PM) things were stable again and services were up and running again, a final check and everything was working … except the mail server. It looked dead, no pings, no signs of life.

Mail had suffered the sudden interruption, and our systems engineer (my dear friend Raimondo) was out of town and would be all of the following day. The thought of all those phone calls enquiring about their mail and when we would fix the problem made me break out into a cold sweat.

Via a GPRS connection Raimondo attempted to bring our mail server back to life. There were ups and downs until at 3:00 AM it looked like things were finally working, however it was clear there was more work to be done, and the next morning I’d call in Marco another experienced member of our team to see what could be done.

But I had a bad feeling about the mail server and fell asleep at around 4:00 AM hoping mail would continue to function, knowing there were chances that it would go down again.

At 7:00 AM I was up and running, my son Alex was leaving for Milan and Thomas had to be taken to school. It was going to be a busy morning. While making coffee I couldn’t resist cecking out the mail server, so while coffee was in the making I went to check but couldn’t – my home ADSL wasn’t working …

A quick call to my business partner in Tuscany, always up at 5:00 AM, was enough to confirm my bad feelings from the night before – mail was down.

Once at the office with Raimondo we set up the mail backup machine, so the essential services were all working except for a few snags, but after all we had been through, it was an acceptable situation.

Marco arrived and was at work after exchanging some information with Raimondo on mail. There was no physical damage to the server, and it was back online in just over 1 hour: again I was nearly moved by the feeling of satisfaction and gratitude to all those who were there in this time of technological need.

We went for a coffee and I was mentally ready to get back to work when I got a call form the office – another emergency was unfolding … the UPS had been badly hit by the power surge as was sending out shocks !

While we were frenetically shutting down machines to move them to direct power supply, our ADSL went down …

Isn’t that a Great sequence of evil events ?

Your greatest enemy isn’t your competitor, or the market place – it’s Murphy. When something can go wrong it will in such a way to provide the most possible damage, even in the most controlled conditions.

Now I have another story to tell, and reason to tell people who say “it’s impossible” to go to hell.

By the way, we had decided and planned to relocate our servers … in a matter of days – Murphy sees all and knows everything !

One Reply

  1. Wonderful snap!!!! have to read this article. .