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Even If You Are Prepared, *&%$ Happens

By on Oct 18, 2013 in conference, hardware, high availability, PASS, PASS Summit, presenting, SQLHA, SSD, training, USB 3.0, VMs | 2 comments

Good morning from the last day of PASS Summit here in Charlotte, NC. All in all, it’s been a great week but it has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me. Why? Let me explain.

I got in on Sunday and we had our first company meeting with Max on board. Since Ben lives around here, it made a lot of sense to do it pre-Summit. After we were done and I was in the hotel room, I went to tidy up some things in VMs I had done for demos as well as for the upcoming Australia classes in a few weeks. I was going to hand off the drives here since the guys from WardyIT were going to be at Summit. So far so good.

Then I plugged in the drive – a Mushkin 480GB mSATA SSD in an external USB 3.0 enclosure.

Dead.

I discovered this late Sunday night and did all I thought of to try to resuscitate it. I made sure it wasn’t my computing devices, since I had a new Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD (nice drive BTW – super fast)  in an external enclosure as well as the two external Touro 500GB 7200rpm drives to give to Wardy and a Patriot Supersonic 256GB Magnum USB 3.0 flash drive. All said and done, 2.75TB of external storage, and 1.25 in my machines for a total of 4.0TB of storage (most of which is full at this point, sad to say). The VMs I needed were only on that SSD which worked fine the day before. I powered down, unplugged, and just put it in my bag.

What did I do? Well, after a few hours of trying, I went to bed. I knew deep down that the next few days were going to be long, so some sleep would be needed. I got up around 9AM on Monday and started redoing all of the VMs I needed for my pre-conference session on Tuesday. We also had a SQLHA party Monday night, which given where I was, turned out to be a bit problematic personally. I did show up for a bit (Ben and Max were there, so it was OK). I finally stopped working on VMs at 6:30 Tuesday morning, got showered, delivered my pre-con, and just collapsed after. When all was said and done, I was up for approximately 36 hours. On Wednesday morning, I got up and worked until about 4:20 in the afternoon for my 4:45PM spotlight session. On Thursday morning, luckily the Patriot had older versions of the lab VMs and I just used those to do what I needed to do to hand off the Touro drives to Wardy last night.

They say never let them see you sweat, and that is exactly what I did. I sucked it up and got stuff done. Needless to say, I have not been at the convention center too much nor did I go to the NASCAR party last night. I came back to my hotel and just went to sleep.

Before I left on Sunday morning, I (ironically) made a backup of my main laptop (I’ll be on the road quite a bit the next few weeks so it’s always good to do something like that before) and I’ve never had an external SSD die like that on me. I did not think that roughly one day later I’d be looking at having to redo nearly 4 days worth of work, but that is where I wound up.

This does beg the question – how much redundancy do you need when it comes to things like backups? Up until now, I’ve never really had an issue on the road. Now? It has me thinking quite a bit about my demo situation. I was lucky I had that new Samsung drive to be able to rebuild things otherwise I would have been doing a bit of a song and dance both on Tuesday and Wednesday. So I did have the right tools with me, thankfully.

I’ll just chalk this one up to *&%$ happens since in all my years of doing demos, I’ve never had a massive hardware failure like this. I’ll see when the scores are tallied, but I felt really good about my pre-con and the Troubleshooting Clusters session (which was also rebroadcast on PASStv). I may wind up doing the Troubleshooting Clusters session again at some point since it was a lot of fun to do. I am thankful for everyone who came out to both.

Oh yeah, and we had a booth (Consultant’s Corner – #129) down on the exhibition floor with two others (Denny Cherry and Linchpin People). Luckily Ben and Max picked up the slack since when I wasn’t presenting, I was back in the hotel reviving VMs. I will be down there for a bit today, so stop by and say hello. I should be there later in the AM until the exhibition hall closes.

That’s been my week here at Summit. Net positive, but definitely some hard lessons learned. I hope you filled out your evals and left feedback – good or bad (and if bad, constructive) – so I can improve the next time out. See you at an event soon!

    2 Comments

  1. Allan –
    I was at both pre-con and spotlight session. You did mention that you’d had a spot of trouble but I had no idea that things had gone this far south (so to speak 8).

    In the words of my (great) grandmother — Thanks ’til you’re better paid!

    gary

    Gary

    October 28, 2013

    • My job as a speaker is not to play the ‘woe is me’ card. That’s lame.

      Quite honestly, the fact I even had demos was a bit of a miracle given where I was on Sunday night. I’ll take my lumps and in no way am I making any excuses. You deal with the deck of cards you’re given.

      Allan

      November 7, 2013

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