I went to see my parents at the weekend, and "enjoyed" a 3 hour power cut. As if that was not enough, we suffered one at the office today. They've had a few before I've started, and for some reason the building isn't on the same supply as most of the surroundings, so neighbouring buildings, and particularly the traffic lights outside, are still on.
One of the sysadmins had been at home helping his wife deal with a plumbing emergency, and had a bit of an amusing time getting back to the office. The car park is protected by barriers, one in, one out, which raise up to allow authorised cars to pass beneath. Only they don't when there is no power, and he nearly hit the inbound barrier, being so used to rolling towards it and watching it go up automatically. Someone else was stuck the outbound barrier concerned that he was going to be late for a 3pm meeting, and failing to find suitable tools to cajole the barrier into letting him out. Our sysadmin, being much better equipped care of a large spanner, rapidly had the arm of the barrier off, and when I cycled home this evening it was still sitting in the bushes.
Anyway, the "power failure" procedure is now fairly well practised. After 2 or 3 minutes the sysadmins started shutting down non-essential machines to maximise the life from the UPS. The debate in the kitchen was which machine was going to be "last man standing". The developers were suggesting the svn server, as it sounds like it can be a bit of a bitch to get back up and working, but after about 30 seconds to and fro - "svn", "finance", "svn", "finance" the sysadmin's argument that the finance server be last one the day. Mainly because payroll was being run today.
Now, I thought that this was a bit of a wind up. How wrong. Apparently the payroll was completed with something over 5 minutes left on the UPS, but it still had to be uploaded to the bank. Fortunately, with just 3 minutes left on the UPS (and apparently the same time on the CFO's laptop) power came back. So we should all get paid.
Getting one's priorities right is important.