The Tale of Two Christmases (or Why I Need to Eat my own Dog Food)

Jan 7, 2019 | Business Continuity, Digital Workspace, Security Products and Services | 0 comments

dog food

Christmas has become a time for personal IT trials. Just before a Christmas flight in 2017, my laptop’s motherboard failed. Granted, it was a 5 year old machine and had given me a good life; but it was still frustrating.

The bright spot was that I had “eaten my own dog food;” I had followed the advice I give to all my clients. All my documents, email, calendar, and contacts were stored in the “Cloud” and I was able to use any other computerlike my sister’suntil I replaced my laptop. I didn’t have to wonder: “When was my last backup?”, “Do I have a good backup to recover from?” or “What was I working on just before my computer died?” I didn’t have to recreate or recover any of my work. Apart from reinstalling some customized software, I was able to continue my life with my new computer. It was an inconvenience, but not a full-blown disaster.

Last spring, my VoIP provider of over a decade was going out of business. I needed to move my service. I installed a new PBX server in my office to install a new system. After a couple months of trial, I decided that I liked the new system and I would keep it.

I remember thinking a few times, “That server is going to fail; you need to move it to the Cloud.” But I had other projects, other clients, and I just didn’t get around to it. This time, I didn’t “Eat my own dog food” and I was about to pay the cost. Just before Christmas 2018, the alerts came across my email: my PBX server was down; its network card had failed.

What to do? The server was still under warranty and all it’s data intact, but I can’t be without a phone service until I replace the server.

My solution was to spin up a fresh virtual machine in Google’s Montreal cloud center. In 10 minutes the new server was running. It took about 30 more to extract the most recent backup of the failed machine and install it in the Montreal server. Within an hour, my system was again handling calls and receiving voicemail. It took a bit longer to modify my office’s firewall rules to be able to answer the calls in-house.

This year’s experience was a full-blown disaster—in part because I was careless in living out my own principles. That is a lesson that I will take to heartbut it still could have been much worse. It was also a good lesson in how easy and quick it is to use cloud services to rescue or protect a business. I don’t want to think of what the worst case scenario would have been.

Atlas can help you plan for the disasters that will inevitably affect your business as well. The best technology failures are the ones that no one notices. We’ve been there and we know how to manage business interruptions in an efficient and cost-effective way.

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