Tales from the Tapes

Estimated read time 3 min read


In my recent posts, I delved into the headlines about system outages, whether from cyber attacks or system failures, and how they’ve left a lasting impact on me. These events prompted me to reflect on why I’m so passionate about safeguarding and backing up our systems. Today, I want to share a personal story that shaped my perspective on disaster recovery and business continuity.

My Journey: Learning on the Fly

My journey into the world of IT began with my first job as a systems operator for the AS400. At the time, our company relied heavily on this system for its core business functions, and we had a robust tape solution in place to capture crucial file changes, especially those occurring in batch processes. Little did I know that it wouldn’t be the AS400, but rather a Novell file server used for back-office files, that would test my skills and resilience.

As is often the case in early career opportunities, my responsibilities soon expanded beyond routine administrative tasks to include PC support, which encompassed managing the Novell file server. While I was well-versed in Windows, Novell was uncharted territory for me. Then came the crisis – a week of downtime, the need to order a new server, and the daunting task of rebuilding everything. But we persevered, and by the next weekend, we were back up and running with all files restored.

The Silver Lining: A Lesson Learned

While our story ended relatively well, it could have taken a disastrous turn. We were a smaller company, operating on a tight budget, with redundancy and the cloud still distant concepts. This outage served as a stark reminder of the extent to which the business relied on that system and how ecstatic everyone was when services were restored.

For me, this experience underscored two invaluable lessons. Firstly, the importance of a meticulously planned backup process, and secondly, the necessity of having a comprehensive plan for service restoration and business continuity. In our case, we had to formulate a plan on the fly – from researching and purchasing new hardware to temporarily restoring critical files from tape to local machines, enabling mission-critical processes to continue.

Proactive Planning: Your Path to Resilience

From my experience, I want to stress the ease of establishing disaster recovery and business continuity plans before disaster strikes. Preparing in advance not only reduces the stress and frustration that accompanies crisis management but also ensures that your customers remain satisfied and your operations remain resilient.


In my journey from a rookie systems operator to a staunch advocate for disaster recovery and business continuity, I’ve come to understand the true value of preparation. It’s a journey that has taught me that being proactive and having a well-thought-out plan in place can make all the difference when faced with unexpected challenges.

So, take it from my experience: start planning your disaster recovery and business continuity strategies now, and spare yourself the chaos and uncertainty that comes when you’re caught off guard.

Don’t forget to share this post with others who might benefit from these lessons. Together, we can build a more resilient future.

#DisasterRecovery #BusinessContinuity #DR #BCP

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