It was Sunday, just before noon. I had to leave shortly to meet my sister for lunch and then the two of us would visit our mother in the nursing home. I was packing up some books for Mom when the phone rang.
I don't like answering the phone on Sunday, but I know it's probably someone with a real problem. I usually let it go to voice mail, and call back if it is a client with a serious issue, but for some reason I picked this one up.
"Hi, Mr. Lawrence? This is Bill from so and so company. I got your phone number from your website".
Oh great - not even a client. Now I'm going to get asked for free advice, and for crying out loud it's SUNDAY and I'm on my way out. Sheesh!
"I'm really sorry to call you, and I'm not looking for free help".
Well, OK, thanks for saying that, at least. Though it probably still will end up being free, and my wife is going to remind me that I can't afford to be a nice guy and - once more with feeling - it is SUNDAY!
I explain that. Well, part of it: "I don't really have much time - I'm on my way out".
"Well, I suppose this can wait till Monday, but these folks are getting really upset and I thought I could help them, but I'm pretty confused now.."
Oh darn it. The poor guy really sounds desperate. And he seems like a really nice guy. Darn it, darn it, darn it.
"OK, well, I can spare a few minutes".
I really couldn't; my sister would be wondering where I was very soon. But.. "Tell me quickly what's happening".
"Well, we had a problem where the system wouldn't boot. Couldn't fix that, but we have CTAR backups, so I restored those, but something went wrong. It ran out of space restoring. I can't imagine why, but I had a bigger drive handy, so I restored to that, and now it boots up, but my data files are gone".
"Gone? What do you mean?"
"Well, I've got all the data files in the /med filesystem and it is flat empty. Nothing in it".
"Is /med mounted?", I asked.
"Oh.yeah. I do 'df -v' and there it is. But nothing in it".
"Any chance you never backed up /med?". Hey, it happens. Unlikely, but I have to ask.
"Maybe, but here's the funny thing - I saw all those files listed while the restore was running. But now they aren't here".
"You SAW /med files listed as being restored?
"OK, I know what's wrong. Not sure how you got there, but I know where your files are".
Do you know what was wrong, and how to fix it?
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2011-04-28 Tony Lawrence
What happens then? Is there a ticker tape parade and heartfelt thanks from the computer it has reached? No, my friends, there is not. The poor packet is immediately gutted, stripped of its protective layers and tossed into the hungry maw of whatever application (mail, a webserver, whatever) it belongs to. (Tony Lawrence)