As Computers' Power Increases, So Do Risks of Relying on Them

Michael Lindenberger

Here's a reminder that what technology gives, it can take away just as easily.

 

A story on MSNBC.com recalls the sinking feeling folks at Alaska's Department of Revenue had last summer, when a techie accidentally deleted electronic records of an $38 billion account while doing routine maintenance. He then reformatted the hard drive, wiping out the backup copies of the records, too.

 

Buckets of sweat -- and some $200,000 -- later, the department had recovered the erased documents, by pulling out 300 cardboard boxes full of the original paper entries that had been scanned months before.

 

It's a story worth remembering today, when IDC is reporting that virtualization is gathering momentum among the server industry. That's proof, one IDC analyst said in a piece by vnunet.com, that buyers are convinced the benefits of virtualization outweigh its risks. (It stands to reason, for instance, that if fewer servers are doing more work, then each breakdown will have a wider impact.)

A virtualized server going down could have far greater impact than a single application server going down, but (IDC vice president Michelle) Bailey said IT is not as concerned about that. "I would say customer perception around putting too many eggs in one basket has changed. ..."

We're not suggesting that they should be worried. But as the poor sap in Alaska would surely tell you, it's wise to have a back up plan -- and hard copies -- for the worst-case scenario you know will happen sooner or later.



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