The Phases of an Email Outage

This week's #list is a lighthearted look at the start-to-finish phases of an email outage.

Normal Operations

1. Everything is working just fine. It's been a while since your last outage, if ever.

2. Users are happily sending and receiving email and doing what users do.

3. The odd 200MB attachment causes the a slowdown. Thank-you users! Trouble is Brewing

4. Your mail stores are getting a little full, but you're not that worried.

5. The mail server or OS software vendor releases a major update.

6. You know this could mean trouble, You put off applying the update. The Holes in the Cheese Line Up

7. You find out the update fixes a problem you've been having with the system.

8. You tell the CIO you'll have to apply the update.

9. The CIO tells you downtime is only available at 10pm on Sunday night, this week.

10. You cancel the plans you had for Sunday, and pre-empt spending the night on the couch as you partner won't be happy. You Plan and Prepare - 7 P's right?

11. You've planned the update, backed up the server, you're ready.

12. You bounce the server once last time (just to make sure)

13. You start to apply the update: Diligently pressing the Next button.. Next, next, next, .... Then it Happens

14. Then the blue progress bar stops moving. Your anxiety level (already high) begins to rise.

15. You wonder whether the vendor has included an anxiety detector, as the longer this takes the more stressed you get, and therefore the longer it takes.

16. You wait.. and wait.. and 45 minutes later you decide. Reboot.. Heck, why not?.

17. Hey, everything looks ok, it's back up. No problem.

18. Then you check the services, and the ohnosecond happens.

19. You realize that although everything looks good, a critical service isn't starting. Maybe a key service for the email server.

20. Panic sets in.. This is going to be a long night. What Happens Next?

21. Support might work, it might not. Roll back plan might work, it might not.

22. You know the users will be connecting soon.

23. Reverting to a previous back-up is a scary prospect.

24. You call the CIO to explain; the CIO tells you to get it working by 8am on Monday and goes back to sleep.

25. You're in for a long night... You wish you had pushed harder for that email continuity solution.

26. The rest depends, on luck, skill, the alignments of the planets and anything else you'd care to channel.

27. You promise yourself to get the CIO to signoff on the Email Continuity solution. You survived!

28. No-one noticed, No-one cares.

29. Many espresso’s and a 4-pack of red bull, zero sleep and despair have given you the appearance of a vagrant.

30. Your colleagues tell you to take it easy on the weekends, you need more sleep…