The joy of do-it-yourself IT

This holding company owns a handful of subsidiaries that all run independently -- which keeps things interesting for an IT pilot fish who works there.

"In IT, we are often told to just make it work when one company buys its own software," fish says. "Web sites are one thing that we have managed to unify, except for one company that insists on using its own provider and managing themselves."

E-mail for all the companies is also on fish's servers, and that works without a hitch -- at least until the day fish gets a frantic call from the subsidiary with its own Web site. The problem: No outside e-mails are arriving.

After fish sits through the standard chewing-out about how the business can't function without e-mail, he starts testing. Sure enough, no outside e-mail is reaching the subsidiary. It isn't even reaching the mail servers.

A little more digging, and fish discovers that the subsidiary's DNS record no longer points to his server for e-mail.

Then fish tries to connect to the subsidiary's Web site and gets nothing but a page full of advertising links.

Fish calls the subsidiary's president -- the guy who had just chewed him out for failing to deliver the mail -- and describes what he has found.

President explains that he finally decided to host the Web site with the same provider as everyone else -- but without notifying anyone in IT, of course. And it turned out the new site wasn't going to be ready right away, but he didn't want to keep paying for hosting through the old provider, so he told them to just shut the old site off.

"Of course they hosted not only his Web site, but his DNS records, so when they killed the site, down went e-mail as well," sighs fish.

"Fortunately, we were able to get a temporary site going with the new provider and get DNS records switched. He still wasn't happy when I told him the changes would take at least a day or two to propagate out to the rest of the Internet."

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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