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I am not really sure if this is on-topic for the main site so I thought I would ask it here, but again, it may be slightly off-topic.

The company I work for hosts a number of websites, these are all accessed 24/7 and it is difficult to arrange downtime, without scheduling it for 3 months in advance. So if a problem crops up which requires a server reset, services to be restarted, etc. it is pretty much impossible to do this.

As a work around, I have been using VBS scripts as a temporary measure to fix things, so for example I have a SQL server which hangs on backup jobs when it tries to delete files. This only happens once or twice, but as soon as it happens, the discs fill up and backups stop being run. So I wrote a VBS script to loop through the files and delete it, and removed this from the SQL job.

The Question

Is using VBS like this incredibly bad practice? Am I going to run into more serious issues in the long run with a number of scripts around the place? What would be a better solution?

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The meta site is only for asking questions about Server Fault. Your question here is related to System Administration, so it would normally belong on the main site. However, the question is far too broad. Server Fault's purpose is not to tell you how to be a system administrator, but rather how to accomplish certain tasks and resolve specific problems.

That aside, putting band-aids on real problems is ignoring the real problem. You still have the real problem and now you've expended energy/resources to ignore it instead of fix it. Accountants like to call these efforts "sunk costs", meaning that energy/resource is gone now and will never be of any value in the future.

Of course there are requirements outside the control of System Administrators, and sometimes all we can do is put a band-aid on the problem. It is our job to explain to the "higher ups" that there's a problem, we're limited to bain-aiding it, and that we'd like to have the freedom to fix it. They should decide if that's an appropriate action for the continuity of the business. Hopefully they'll get it right... that's their job.

Further, I'd guess that your lack of redundancy is what's making it impossible to actually fix problems. Redundancy is expensive, but allows greater uptime, easy of administration, planning, and a myriad of other benefits. There are pages around the net to help explain these benefits to the "higher ups", so they can make a more informed decision. But if it's not their business model, you'll be stuck with what you're doing now. I will say that most business go the redundancy way eventually.

  • Yea, I was a bit concerned about that. I knew it was too broad for the main site. – boburob May 18 '12 at 13:00
  • Although invented by a developer, the concept of Technical Debt is highly relevant to systems administration. – Skyhawk May 18 '12 at 14:49

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