Raunchy IMs crash the database

A DBA uncovers copious X-rated chat logs of overheated exchanges between employees

As the person who keeps the local instant messenger gateway server running, I have worked with our DBAs to ensure the database is backed up and regularly purged of old records. With the occasional update and patch, it has been running more or less problem-free for about six months. I usually only have to touch it when HR or Legal needs to pursue a issue.

The oldest records are supposed to be purged weekly to keep the size down. A week or so ago, one of the DBAs called and said the purge wasn't running successfully and he was seeing data corruption. He exported the database and tried to restore it. Still corrupt. He tried to restore from an earlier backup. Still corrupt. He even tried to truncate it without any success. As a last ditch effort, the DBA looked through the export file to see if the data might be salvageable.

He came back a few minutes later and asked if I knew what people did in IM. He seemed a little embarrassed. I explained that the system popped up a notice every 15 minutes to remind people that their IM conversations were being logged. In theory, that notification should clue in even the densest of abusers. He went on to say he'd seen some very raunchy exchanges despite the notification. I was not shocked at all as I also see the Web filter reports. I just shook my head since the people here never cease to amaze me.

When I looked up the particular users in question, it turned out they only sit two offices apart and they are married but not to each other.

In the end, the database was so corrupt, and not just from the lewd conversations, that we had to delete it and recreate it. I also changed the disclaimer to be more obvious but so far it hasn't made much difference. They are still having cybersex on company time, through the company server, preserved for HR in all its explicit glory.

Some of the people who've called in the past with the greatest sense of urgency when the IM server was down now have me wondering why they were so impatient!

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