@thegibson Small business customer in a remote site, 15 years ago. Had a linux server driving their network for email and filestore. RAID card failed, and no replacement cards were available, so we loaned them a spare box & copied from the one working drive. All good so far ...
Then a few weeks later we got the replacement card, so the old server was reinstalled & I took it to them (a 4 hour drive, the company's owner took me there).
In a small cramped space, set up the new server, and ran an rsync from the old one to copy the last few weeks data across.
It ran really fast.
Really really fast.
And didn't list any files ...
Because there weren't any.
I'd sync'd the new blank machine onto the old "full of customer data" one.
There were no backups of course, because the customer didn't have a backup facility, they had RAID cards ...
The owner drove me back home that evening, another 4 hours. It felt much much longer ...
@lightweight might know if I was ever forgiven ... I was working for him at the time, it was his customer ...


@yojimbo @TheGibson hah! It's been a weird day of unexpected memories. This one was pretty memorable, for sure. I felt very bad for you, as I think you did take a lot of precautions.. and I felt very bad for the customer. We continued working with them until I sold the business quite a few years later. I don't think it was discussed much subsequently, but I don't think it affected them too badly. :). I hope it hasn't troubled you overmuch since.

@lightweight @thegibson Luckily it was off-season for them, so there were no customer enquiries to track; and the only thing they'd been using email for was organising new uniforms from a supplier; so the supplier would have had all the copies of correspondence. So they were as mellow as possible under the circumstances!

In a technical interview a few years later I was asked "what's the worst thing you've done to a customer?" so I told the story. "What would you do differently?" was the next question, so I said I'd change the prompt on the old and new server using something like the MAC address to check (as that's the only unique identifier). The unix beard nodded, and said "yes, that's what I did when I had a job like that; but I got the prompts the wrong way around ..."

So I got that job :-)

I keep that question for interviews with people who have had sysadmin responsibility, it's a good one.

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