It’s been an awfully long time since I last posted, hasn’t it?
As you may have guessed by now, it is because of, yet again, another computer outage at home. In this case, my Windows domain controller hard drive died. Dead. Kaput. Spins No More. Dances With Boat Anchors. It’s an old IBM Deskstar hard drive, which I’d somehow overlooked when installing it into that machine years ago, because the Deskstar line has earned the nickname “Deathstar” for how frequently they would fail. Modern Hitachi Deskstar drives may be perfectly reliable, but it wouldn’t matter because the association <em>Deskstar = lost data</em> has become far too embedded in my brain.
Those of you who aren’t networking geeks may not know what a domain controller (DC) is, and you probably don’t care, so I won’t go into details. I’ll just say that it’s the brain of the network. If your network is set up to use a DC and you don’t have one available, nobody can log on to their workstations. They probably can’t resolve DNS lookups to the outside world (which means no browsing websites or sending email). Exchange certainly won’t even start up without a DC around, and I’m lucky that I’d configured my web server in such a way that it’s been able to stand not having a DC around.
This failure happened, of course, the Friday night before Steph and I were leaving for Las Vegas on the following Tuesday, and we already had far too much to try to get done that weekend for me to even pretend to take the time to fix the DC. And by “fix” I mean “rebuild from scratch,” which in turn means having to reinstall Exchange and have a lot of fun recovering our mailbox data. I instead tossed up a quick band-aid of a mail service so we’d continue to get email on our main addresses and called it good. We then went to Vegas for the conference I was speaking at and had a lot of fun, and since we’ve been back I’ve slowly been assembling the tools and components I need to begin the rebuilding process.
Steph, bless her heart, has been making noises about getting more involved in the computer administration (hey, it never hurts a kept woman to have a few legal salable skills in the event that her sugar daddy is killed in a freak accident involving a ton of failing Deathstars), so over the past couple of days I’ve been walking her through rebuilding the domain controller (and by extension, the rest of the domain). Tonight’s task: re-install the DNS zone files inside our network, so that the computers in our house can once again see the websites that I host on my web server. (It’s hard to blog regularly when you can’t get to your own blog site, and lately I’ve been too busy at work to take the time to do it from there.)
So, there you have it. I hereby declare 2006 as the Year of the Outage.