Catastrophe! Pt 4

Everything was going so well. The near-disasters had been avoided and the catastrophe was only minutes from being a memory when the worst happened, and finally the data really was lost and along with it, maybe this customer. Only one thing was left to do. Read on, for the final installment of… Catastrophe!

Data Loss? It’ll Cost!

As soon as I realized there might be some data loss, I decided to ship the original defective SCSI hard drive to Marlon Stone at ReWave Hard Drive Recovery in Concord, NC. They are the go-to guys when you have a crashed drive and bad backups. If you look online, you’ll find alot of data recovery places. My two reasons for choosing ReWave were simple:
1. They were less than 100 miles from me and if needed, I could drive there and
2. Of the four emails I sent out the night before, Marlon answered fastest and personally. (As a matter of fact, none of the others ever responded.)

Recovering data from a dead hard drive can be a tricky business. There are generally two kinds of faults, logical and mechanical. You hope for a logical fault, which is alot cheaper to recover. A mechanical fault is exactly what it says, mechanical. It requires parts, and a mechanical failure can be expensive to recover. Common estimates can run higher than $2400. The number I got back from Marlon was 1900 bucks.

Now, you might think that’s a bit high for just one file. If that’s what it was, I’d agree with you. But it wasn’t one file. It was much more than that. That one file represented my reputation, my business, my integrity. It’s one thing to lose data, a terrible thing. But to refuse to restore that data because of a price tag? That would be unethical. If I ever looked at it that way, I would not be myself.

Pay The Piper

So I sent the payment to ReWave and waited for the file. Once the recovery was complete, the file would be ftp’d for me and this ordeal would finally be over. That should have taken a couple of days. Several days went by and I was beginning to worry. There was only a 45% chance of recovery going in to it, and I was beginning to think they weren’t going to be successful. I know that it seldom helps to interrupt an IT worker, and in fact never gets the job done any faster, but I had to call.

And I got no answer. Just voicemail. So I sent an email. Late that afternoon, the phone rang and it was Marlon. He sounded beat. Everybody there had come down with a really nasty flu and nobody had been at the office for 2 days. The guy who normally set up their ftp was out and they were sending my files overnight. I should have them in the morning. About 30 minutes later I got a Fedex tracking number in my email. My file was on its way.

The next day, the file arrived and copied perfectly onto the server, finally ending the ordeal of the near catastrophe. In the end, after riding a roller coaster of successes and failures, there was no data lost at all. As far as the customer was concerned, all that was lost was some time. And from my point of view, I wasn’t out too much of anything. Just money. My good friends–my clients–were smiling. They were happy. That was what was most important.

What Can I Say?

I learned a couple of lessons from all this. One, and I’ve said to my customers over and over, Do Not Panic. When we panic we don’t think clearly. We forget things easily. We make more mistakes. I could have saved myself alot of emotional pain and quite a bit of time if I had not panicked at the beginning. I would’ve remembered my daily backups. As it was, I looked right at that file several times before I even realized what it was. Yes, that is embarrassing to admit, but I’m making a point. Don’t Panic.

Secondly, Dogged Determination will win out over almost any obstacle. As long as you’re not willing to give up, there may still be a chance. Honestly, I didn’t really have the couple-of-grand to pay for just one file, but I was not willing to let that determine the outcome. I found a way to make it happen if it had to, and then hoped it didn’t come to that. When it did, I bit the bullet and did what was needed.

The third thing to note here is that Sometimes We Can’t Do It Alone. We’ll need help. It’s wonderful if we’re the best at what we do. But there are times when being the best isn’t enough, especially when a catastrophe strikes. When the worst comes to pass, we can’t be so proud that we let the disaster defeat us. Asking for help from the right people and then trusting them to deliver should always be an option.

Finally, I learned that yes, even I can have a set of days or weeks or months when events seem destined to go against my wishes. And for certain, just when we think it cannot get any worse, it can and does. That’s just life’s way of telling us we’re not bottomed out yet, and there is more to come. We don’t know in advance whether tomorrow holds good or ill. All we can know is that whichever it is, it will be ours to deal with. And It Won’t Last Forever. Nothing does.

 Part 1          Part 2          Part 3