So many things in our life are reliable, that it can be very easy to take their presence and continued service for granted.

I was starkly reminded of this a few weeks ago when, within the span of one week, the plumbing drain stack in my house failed, our daycare provider fell ill and was on bed rest for over two weeks, and my car alternator died. Fortunately, through some creative DIY patchwork until a plumber could arrive, some overnights at the parents for built-in childcare during the workday, and some mechanical know-how to keep me mobile, neither of those events caused my life to come to a screeching halt.

However, it was a wake-up call to how easily we take for granted things that allow us to live our lives one day to the next, where our first important thought in the morning is “what type of coffee am I going to brew?”

Which made me think:

  • How many organizations out there are depending on a data protection strategy that solved problems of 5 or more years ago, but has not been updated to solve problems that exist today?
  • How many organizations are running their most critical datacenter infrastructure on old hardware or outdated firmware because it’s been so reliable that it has almost been forgotten?
  • How many systems are out there where administrators cross their fingers during a shutdown, just hoping that those capacitors hold up through one more power cycle?
  • How ready are organizations, really, if something catastrophic happens – be it a ransomware attack, a carrier suffers a massive outage or some other ‘unlikely’ event that has not been planned for because it is ‘unlikely’?

The datacenter and its associated technologies have rapidly evolved over the past several years that keeping up with those changes is a dizzying task. Unfortunately, that means that institutional momentum – “we’ve always done it this way” – reigns supreme. No one gets fired for maintaining the status quo – but at the same time, no one likes being the person left without a chair when the music stops.

Obviously, it’s not practical to continually upgrade and keep tabs on every little thing – that is part of why we implement reliable solutions is so that we can forget about them for a while and spend mental bandwidth on other things. But that reliability does have a hidden downside that should at least be checked in on, on occasion.

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