Disaster. Recovery. Just like the name says...

It's time for this insurance company's big annual disaster recovery test, and because this pilot fish has some configuration changes he wants to make before the test, he heads off to the colocation data center a few days ahead of the rest of the team.

"Usually we start at 8 a.m. and finish when it is done -- no sleep allowed," says fish. "I wanted to implement the new configurations so our test would go quicker and we could improve the quality of life during the test."

Fish arrives, boots up his laptop and starts to work. But five minutes later his video shifts to gray bars, then back to normal. Then it shifts to red and black bars, then back to normal. Finally it shuts itself down.

He starts the laptop again, and this time it shows a multicolored power-on self-test screen -- and then the display quits working.

One call to desktop support and a detailed explanation later, and another laptop is on its way -- but so much for Day 1.

Next morning the replacement laptop arrives. Fish inspects it and quickly discovers it has no hard drive. OK, he thinks, no problem -- I've already established that it's a hardware problem, because it fails during the initial POST.

He moves his hard drive to the new laptop -- and gets the same error code on video memory.

So fish calls desktop support and explains the situation. The desktop tech admits that this happens all the time with that laptop model, and insists he's done all he can.

Fish gently reminds the tech that fish is at the disaster recovery test, which is huge at this company. Failure is not an option.

The tech talks to the desktop team's department head, who OKs sending fish a brand new laptop. So much for Day 2.

Next day, fish installs his hard drive in the new laptop. It fires up and runs perfectly.

And fish finally makes his configuration changes.

"When the whole team arrives for the disaster recovery test, I find out my boss's boss has been emailing the desktop team, telling them I am an idiot and it's just a driver issue and he'll have someone teach me when they arrive," sighs fish. "This is the same guy who trusted me to build major systems at the colocation site and sent me up for disaster recovery.

"Lucky for me, the desktop team didn't listen to him. Both laptops had to have new graphics cards."

Tell Sharky about your favorite disaster. Send me your true tale of IT life 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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