No good deed goes unpunish-- Oh wait, never mind!

It's shortly after Y2k, and this pilot fish is part of a small IT group at a big multinational company.

"The data center I supported was in the top floor of a multistory building near the airport," says fish. "I was put on a team tasked with ensuring everything was ready to switch to a disaster recovery hot site located in another state.

"The director of the site was paranoid that the server room would flood. Flood detectors and an automatic paging system were installed. The entire plan was built around detecting this event and then following a carefully scripted action list for shutdown and migration of operations to the DR site."

Because water is the big concern, fish verifies that there are no water pipes in the server room. Then he checks the roof for water tanks or other sources of water.

While he's up there, he watches planes landing at the airport -- and one flies directly overhead at an altitude of only a few hundred feet. It seems that the building is directly in the landing pattern for one of the runways.

Fish tells the site director that an aircraft hit is more likely than a flood. Site director insists that a hurricane was more likely to flood the server room. Fish counters that the building is several hundred miles from the coast, so a hurricane isn't likely.

And so for the next few months, the team continues planning for the flood.

It's at the end of yet another DR meeting, with one attendee after another droning on about the best sequence for database shutdown and replication, that the department director asks the team how likely it is that they'll actually be able to pull off the plan.

"Feeling snarky -- or maybe just drowsy from the meeting -- I pointed out that the plan was handling an unlikely scenario," fish says. "After I presented the alternative scenario and why it mattered, the director jumped on the idea. The next meeting was spent all on how things would be handled with the new scenario, with the old one never mentioned again.

"The price I paid for snarkiness? I had to develop and manage a new DR plan -- and I took over the data center when the site director left."

Sharky wouldn't mind being flooded with true tales of IT life. Send yours to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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