Brents IT Blog

Random thoughts by an IT GOAT


Why Snapshots are your FRIEND!

For those of you in the IT industry that have SAN, NAS or any recent version of some enterprise backup software, you know what a snapshot is.  For those of you who are still scratching your head, here is a brief description:

"a point in time copy of your hard drive/storage from a block level"

So how is this useful?  Well, if you use VMWare and snapshots to back up the VMs, you can literally restore the VM to a point in time before the failure.  Now granted you will lose data, it just depends on when you took the snapshot.  Most snapshot technology now addays will actually let you take a primary snapshot and then create differential snapshots after.  This saves disk space and allows you to take snapshots more frequently.

So why are snapshots my friend?  They just are!!  Just kidding, they are a life/job saver!  The next time your software vendor says they are ready to do an upgrade, they say they have tested everything, they say there are no problems, TAKE A SNAPSHOT of any system they will touch!  This must be so, it ensures that when everyone logs into the system on the following Monday and nothing is working correctly, the vendor is clueless or absent, you can restore to a point in time before the upgrade.

Just in case you were wondering, i had to do just as i described.  The situation was a major upgrade to our EHR software by the software vendor.  The spent all weekend upgrading, we tested everything on Sunday, everyone was in high spirits for Monday, then it happened, Monday came and the system just stopped working.  I let the vendor troubleshoot for two hours, then took snap shots, then restored my previous snapshots.  I think by the time i finished, the doctors and nurses were in full revolt, but it was quickly quelled by the restore.  Turned out the vendor had NEVER load tested the new queries!  First: testing is your friend and LOAD TESTING is your BEST friend and job securer( is that a word? ).  These guys continue to show just how unable they are to produce working software.  Course as much as i want to say: "STAY AWAY FROM ECLINICALWORKS" to anyone i see, i have to digress, when the software is working, the front desk staff love it.  The interface is relatively intuitive, the information layout is nice, they love the templates and the software covers anything any type of doctor or nurse would need to do.  The reporting does suck though, use bridgeit, another system i don't like, but works well ( they use an access front end with SQL backend ).

So, bottom line?  Snapshots will save your life and they ARE YOUR FRIEND!