“Format C:” Still Lives

Emory University accidentally used the awesome power of automated provisioning of software to computers on its network to blow itself out of the water.“A Windows 7 deployment image was accidently sent to all Windows machines, including laptops, desktops, and even servers. This image started with a repartition / reformat set of tasks.” They not only clobbered their “tool” but clogged their networks for days. I bet some lessons were learned.

  • While centralized IT is fun and efficient it does facilitate centralized failure.
  • While that other OS makes folks dependent on M$ and needing frequent re-imaging, SCCM might hide details needed to use it properly.
  • Maybe, just maybe, it’s wrong to equate “computer running that other OS” with “PC”.
  • Ozzie was right, “Complexity kills”.

With thousands of PCs and a bunch of servers, they had a dependence on inActive Directory and felt the need to dig the hole deeper using M$’s tools. Would the disaster have been preventable using GNU/Linux? Not if one set it up that way, but systems I set up used thin clients so fewer machines would need re-imaging and GNU/Linux rarely needs re-imaging with a package-manager like APT. It’s fire and forget. Done. Never need to re-install/re-image ever again. apt-get upgrade updates the packages. apt-get dist-upgrade supplies the new release. Updates can be done while the PC is in use, for Pity’s sake. It’s not hard to wake machines up at night to do the job, too. So, while you have to admire the willingness of Emory IT to be slaves to M$ and to place the priorities of M$ above the priorities of users, I think they would be better off freed from any dependency on M$ ASAP.

See Emory LITS: Information Technology | Windows 7 incident.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in technology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Format C:” Still Lives

  1. oiaohm says:

    There are cases where people use image deployments with Linux and blow feet off as well. At least Linux has options of avoiding this.

    apt-get dist-upgrade does not promise 100 percent but the advantage is these Linux solutions leave the Linux package deployment pattern in place.

    There are reasons to use puppet and other configuration management solutions with Linux.

  2. dougman says:

    LOL,,,,

    A Windows 7 deployment image was accidently sent to all Windows machines, including laptops, desktops, and even servers. This image started with a repartition / reformat set of tasks.

    As soon as the accident was discovered, the SCCM server was powered off – however, by that time, the SCCM server itself had been repartitioned and reformatted.

    I wonder how much work was lost.

Leave a Reply