My Biggest Mistake

A recent chat with a colleague caused the Dude to reminisce about the time he deleted a full file server...

Short post today, but a recent conversation with a tech minded colleague caused the Dude to recall this scenario.

Circa 2005, the Dude worked at a medium sized business. The unit he worked at had probably 100 people, and we built industrial measurement systems. The whole company did a turnover of about $500M per annum.

Our IT and tech infrastructure wasn't terribly robust. Oh, we had servers and backups, and the like, but it wasn't really robust. Our Taiwan office had a 512K Frame Relay tie to the corporate network. Just an example of where they were at the time.

The Dude was the sole Mac user in the company. But he was comfortable self-supporting his IT needs (and the IT guys were cool with it.)

When the company moved from Novell networking to Windows with AD and other technologies for authentication and access control, they really didn't rearchitect their topology much.

We had one big file server, that all the departments carved out their own areas on, but pretty much everybody could access anything (note: HR had their own server, separate and it did have restricted access.)

One day, the Dude was working in a conference room, plugged into wired ethernet (our WiFi then sucked) and was doing some maintenance to his team's areas, and after creating a new directory structure, he wanted to remove the old structure.

Drop to the terminal, navigate to the mounted drive, and do an rm -Rf <directory> and it is gone. But the Dude made a typo, and instead did an rm -Rf *

Fuck. Fuckety fuck. After about 5 seconds, he pulls the cable, and stops it, but about 700 megabytes were already wiped out.

Dude has a choice. He knows that logging and forensics aren't the forte of the IT team, so he could play dumb.

Nah, the Dude can't do that. Didn't really contemplate it.

So, he pulls up his big boy pants and walks down to the IT team, and explains what he did.

IT guy laughs, says that it was right to come down, and begins restoring from the tape backup the night before. Fortunately, there was no material impact, besides the Dude being hangdog and owing the duo of IT techs a couple of six-packs of craft brew.

Not long after that, the company got a lot more sophisticated about IT, access control, and managing their group permissions. Perhaps the Dude's colossal fuck up served as a wake up call.

Regardless, it is still a cool story to tell.

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