The Making of a Hero

True story.

It’s a big day for the state legislature.

Which state? We’ll keep that to ourselves. It’s a half hour before the guard unlocks the doors. There’s a key bill on the docket that everyone knows will change the course of the state. Today all eyes will be the Speaker of the House, to see if he can pull off a Hail Mary pass.

At this very moment, our hero — the IT admin in charge of data protection, not the Speaker of the House — has been at the office for about an hour. He’s checking on the systems (good to go), seeing how the backup went (no problems), and pouring his coffee (if you can call this sludge coffee). Suddenly, every single screen in the IT center starts to flicker.  What the…? And then he hears gut-wrenching sound of servers turning off, powering down into the abyss of silence.

We’re now at T-minus 20 minutes for the game-changing legislature vote.

The guard stretches and looks at her watch. It’s about time to get the keys.

After a 10-second freakout, our hero quickly audits and reboots the servers, tries about 12 other things simultaneously while his coffee is getting cold. The servers power back up. The network is going to be OK. The legislative staff can get online, but wouldn’t you know it – every single piece of data is gone. Disappeared. Vanished. Including the critical bill that’s going to change the course of state history — in just 15 minutes.

The guard walks towards the legislators’ entryway.

Our hero swears a blue streak, but does not (I repeat, does not) lose his cool. He was born for this. If this were a movie, now’s the part where he steps into a phone booth, dons the proverbial cape, and utters his famous battle cry. Our hero takes control, spins up his virtual hot standby, brings it cleanly and easily into production mode.


The clock is ticking. The sweat is pouring. But the standby is good to go. The data is ready and we are back in business at 5 minutes to the hour. When the Speaker of the House walks through the just-unlocked doors, the bill is ready and waiting in his office, just as he expected it would be.

This is a true story. But hardly anyone knew that it happened. But we know.

Forget Thor. Forget Captain America or Ant-Man. We know you are one of the real-world heroes in our midst who saves the world in small ways and big every single day. You’ve saved your organization’s bacon countless times. You've dealt with all kinds of disasters — fire, flood, lightning, power outages, hardware and software failures, malware attacks and more — and still restored the data.

You’ve even told us some of the wildest causes of system downtime we’ve ever heard:

  • A contractor accidentally leaning on the “kill” switch, turning off an entire datacenter in an instant. #oops
  • A systems operator vomiting on the rack of switches. #Sorry
  • The fire down the block, which caused the city to shut down the power to the whole area — for three days. #NoPower
  • A rodent chewed through a power line. #FriedSquirrel
  • Tapes which had been religiously loaded into the backup library, only to find the backup routine itself had been de-scheduled. #WhoDidThat
  • Servers thrown into the back of a pickup truck that was trying to get away from the flash flood of the century. #RunLikeHell
  • The decomposing hedgehog that smelled so bad they had to evacuate the office. #HoneyBadger

Time and again, you have demonstrated your backup and recovery superpowers, and we salute you. When we hear you say “Dell data protection #SavedMyBacon,” we say – back at ya, baby! Thank you. All of you. Thank you for saving the day, for saving your company’s and customer’s data, for saving countless people’s bacon.

In our book, you’re the hero!