Impossible Things

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

I wanted to relate a story that happened to a colleague of mine.  She maintains servers in two separate datacenters. All the servers are on the same domain.  So, in theory updating the password in one datacenter does so in both datacenters.  And this is the way it has been for the past year. Things worked as expected.

Recently she noticed however that after updating her password, the one datacenter was still using the old password and the second datacenter was using the new one.

In a proper domain this shouldn’t be possible, but apparently it was.  She spent some time confirming it before calling the IT department.

When she explained the problem to IT, their response was, “That’s not possible.  We synch the servers every hour and run an exception report every night that would show that.”

IT managed to fix the problem (after finally acknowledging it.)

However, the troubling problem though to me is not that the passwords got out synch. Sometimes the impossible does happen. What’s more troubling is that the sync apparently never fixed the problem and the exception report never showed an issue in over the month the problem existed.

The moral here?

It’s not that the impossible sometimes happens (though that would be good for a future blog post).  It’s when your alerts and warnings fail, perhaps it’s time you look at your alerts and warnings since they’re obviously not doing you much good.

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