I was one of those 'lucky' IT people who was scheduled to work through the night from 9pm till midday the next day to ensure all is well with the computer networks over this mysterious event called Y2k.

At 21.00 (9pm) on Dec 31st, 1999, myself and many many other ITers were bunkered down in Clayton, Melbourne, Australia, sitting inside one of the two Telstra data centres (Telstra is the largest telecommunications provider in Australia). As a system administrator, my job was to ensure that the unix servers kept functioning. In a building adjacent to mine, all the Telstra and IBM Global Services Australia executives were bunkered down in the Global Operations Centre (looks very similar to the sterotypical NASA control room you see in movies). From here, any problems that may appear would be flashed up on the large monitors and contingency and emergency plans that had been created in the months prior to Y2k would be invoked.

At 22.00 (Australian time), Y2k rolled over in New Zealand. Soon a report filtered back from our NZ operatives that they were experiencing a problem with an Oracle database (don't believe people who tell you that the Y2k was a hoax!). Contingency plans were invoked, Oracle contacted and a patch quickly developed. This patch was then quickly rolled out to any affected application in Australia over the next few hours.

At 23.59, the entire centre sat poised simultaneously watching the countdown on TV and their computer monitor where logfiles were continuously scrolling up their screens.

At 00.00, everyone let out a cheer, laughed and wished everyone a Happy New Year!

At 00.01, people looked at the lights, picked up the phone (yes, a dial tone was present) and happily concluded that things were going okay. We couldn't make mobile phone calls though because all the exchanges became congested with calls.

At 00.05, things started to get busy. Pre-configured automatic system checks kicked in on every computer system across Telstra and started feeding results back to me and my team. These results were checked and double checked and fed back to the Global Operations Center.

By 02.00, we had completed all our checks - no faults found and we all wandered out to the carpark where Telstra was throwing us a BBQ.

From 02.00 to 10.00 we aimlessly passed the time watching TV or eating. There were a few systems which needed some further testing and we did this between watching the fireworks go off in other countries.

At 10.00, it turned midnight GMT time. Once again, pre-configured checks automatically kicked into actions and started spewing the results back to my team. As before, we checked the results and fed them back to the Global Operation Centre.

By 12.00 Jan 1 2000, our work was done and a tired crew wandered out of the data centre and back home for some sleep and that is what I was doing on January 1 2000.

As a side note, we experienced several minor Y2k bugs in the applications over the next week or two. It is one of the things that irritate me that people keep thinking the whole Y2k thing was a dud - believe me, if none of that time, money and effort had been spent, you all would be sorry now. Despite all the hundred of millions that Telstra spent, we still had a couple of issues - and this after combing through code, patching system after system and after performing countless test and re-tests. The Y2k bug was real - and anyone who says otherwise is an ignorant fool and shows that he/she wasn't/hasn't worked at the coalface.

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