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Maintaining a healthy distance

Yesterday we managed to back up our 40 or so NT servers without incident for the first time in years. OK, months. It seemed like years. It wasn’t that long ago that I nearly woke up my neighbors after receiving my fourth 2-am backup failure phone call that week. As I walked through the hallway to fire up the laptop and log in, I pounded the wall in frustration and screamed, “Just once, let me sleep through the night without bothering me. Just once!”
Microsoft is my least favorite software company and has been for years. But once I had to deal with Backup Exec on a daily–who am I kidding?–nightly basis, Veritas quickly rocketed past Network Associates and Adobe to get the #2 spot.

To anyone else struggling with Backup Exec, I offer this bit of advice: Tell the first PHB who comes around that you’d be working on it if you weren’t busy talking to him or her, then take your phone off the hook and deal with the problem one backup job at a time. Better yet, narrow it down to one directory at a time. Keep in mind that Backup Exec seems to subscribe to the domino theory–one failure causes eight. OK, two or three. And if Backup Exec is flagging jobs as failures because it can’t back up the DHCP database, then exclude the DHCP database. If you have to do a restore and that file’s gone, the OS will regenerate it. It’s easier to explain that to the PHBs than it is repeated failures. If they insist on 100% identical hot backups, tell them they’re going to have to swallow hard and buy you a SAN with snapshot capability. If they don’t have $50,000 laying around, I can come up with creative ways to get it–eliminating a layer or two of management would probably pay for several SANs–but I don’t know of a tactful way to say that.

If I seem a bit disconnected these days, I am. A few weeks ago I realized I was letting a Microsoft lackey from Utah with all the class of that thing you find behind a horse’s tail set my agenda. And I decided I wouldn’t let him set my agenda, or anyone else, for that matter. And I quit looking at my site statistics. And I haven’t even looked at comments since Saturday.

Daily hits are nice, and they’re great for the ego. But prime time for writing used to start around 9 pm. That also happens to be the time when my girlfriend can call me for free. So guess what budged? I’ll adjust eventually, but that’s not all that’s changed. A year ago, I’d ask myself several times a week what I was going to write about the next day. I never ask myself that question anymore. Nowadays I sit down and write when I’ve found something interesting, or I do what I’m doing now–force myself to sit down and write something, anything.

And of course, on the nights when she comes over or we go out, I don’t write anything.

So I’m not writing my best-ever content these days, but it’s because I have other priorities. That includes keeping the girlfriend happy, but truth be told, I’m at least as happy writing a Wikipedia entry as I’ve ever been writing stuff here. So a lot of energy that would normally go here goes elsewhere. Cracking the upper ranks of Technorati or another blogging community just isn’t high on my priority list anymore, if it ever was.

But I’m still in my 20s, and I’m still just as moody as I’ve ever been. Everything’s subject to change with as little notice as St. Louis weather patterns.

I know this will be interpreted as me saying I quit, so let me make one thing clear: I don’t quit. I may or may not write something tomorrow (I probably will). But if I don’t, I’ll be back later in the week. And I might even read comments that time.

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3 thoughts on “Maintaining a healthy distance”

  1. “eliminating a layer or two of management would probably pay for several SANs–but I don’t know of a tactful way to say that.”

    Don’t bother trying to be tactful. My employer could save $250,000 (in plain English, a quarter of a million dollars) annually, just by removing TWO ignorant, arrogant, oxygen-thieving, emotional vampires they call “Directors”. We could probably have kept some of the better associates who left in the last twelve months, as well. There’s nothing tactful about the way these people “communicate” when they do, and they never seem to feel guilty or ashamed of their behavior.

  2. Dave, we would not have it any other way. Microsoft lackeys are to be tolerated. 🙂

    Besides, reading non-war stuff can be refreshing at times.

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