Skeleton staff - what's in your DR closet?

Fifteen (over) years ago I was a sys-admin. And at the time I thought that I had been exposed to all of the technologies I would ever need. We had a Novell Netware 3.12 File Server and a Sun Solaris Unix server running Oracle for the accounts team.

All I had to do was make sure that Windows for Workgroups 3.11 would boot from the server share (remote win.ini from the H:\ drive) and that meant I was doing my job.

Bliss or boredom?!

We had shift plans for long weekends, my boss and I. This was pre-cell phone days, where one of the team would remain ready to dial-in over the phone lines if need be for diagnosis. Actually, I recall a minor few with cell phones. Notably, the guy walking down the mall with his portable phone attached to his face yelling "buy, buy" and then the look on his face when the phone he was screaming at rang - yes we all know you were pretending…

Fast forward to a more complicated time: here we are, easter weekend. So, who's looking after everything? We used to have on-call staff for the potential of an outage that would be far less disruptive compared to what we store digitally today.

Yet, I just left a serviced office and turned out the lights as I did knowing there was no shift-monitor in place. Well, actually, even that's an untruth. The motion sensing lights did their thing soon after I left and thats that.

So, what is todays version of skeleton staff? How have things progressed? Is it a term that has evolved like many others to mean something new or is it now redundant with 24x7 services being the norm?

To all those on call this weekend, I hope you are warm and happy. Are you the DC operators, the security guards, the  guys in the NOC (Network Operations Center)?

Calling all skeletons. Who are they of today?

Published Apr 02, 2013
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