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Y2K, Windows NT4 Server and Notes. It's a 1990s Who, Me? special


I worked for a large government IT department who at the time did mainly mainframe systems - payrolls etc, using ICL kit. I was picked to be part of a new team that would be the first to put in systems based on IBM PC and compatibles, and we also started using Novell Netware servers. The tech support section refused to have anything to do with anything that weighed less than a ton, so we were left to specify our own kit and look after it ourselves.

As part of our setup we got a UPS system which we plugged the server into, and did full test about every 3 months, pulling the plug to the UPS and having it shut down the server gracefully. This worked fine.

After about 2 years of this we were moved to a new building, and we had a computer room in one corner and we were told to put our server in there. By this time the tech support team had finally started to support PC based systems for other teams, but we still looked after our own development kit. A couple of weeks after the move, we did our regular UPS test and our server shut down gracefully. A couple of seconds later there were screams from the other teams as they lost all of their network shares and print queues. It turns out that the tech support team had noticed several spare outlets on the UPS and had the bright idea of plugging the other servers in to it, without them having the software installed or being connected by serial port to the box, so while our server closed down gracefully, theirs all crashed and burned! I suppose we were luck that there was sufficient battery capacity available to allow ours to shut down in time.

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