BNPMedia’s office are closed for Christmas and New Year’s, which means, of course, that the Mission Critical team will be working reduced hours. We are not the only ones, as already I have started receiving out of office messages from people taking a little personal time. By tomorrow, I’ll be getting more of these automated replies than real responses. I’m sure many of you still working will have the same experience as colleagues begin to head off to see family or just take an extra long lunch to mark the last days of the year.

As a result, I’m planning on making this, my last planned blog of the year, a short one. If you are fortunate enough to have some time off, well, you won’t see this until 2011. If not, you may be busy wrapping up year-end projects.

Considering that all of us work in the mission-critical industry, we ought consider ourselves fortunate. Many of our colleagues cannot take time off or must be on call while the rest of us relax. And these people and the machines they keep online support a host of people who must also remain awake and alert all through the season to keep us safe, warm, and secure.

So, I’d like just to take a moment to recognize the data center technicians, NOC operators, and service personnel who will be working through the holiday season. I think we should all also be thankful for the services rendered by police, fire, and emergency responders; doctors, nurses, and hospital personnel; jet pilots, baggage handlers, and flight attendants; and even mall cops, retail clerks, and theater ushers who greet us when we venture out for entertainment or shopping. In addition, I’d like to call special attention to the troops serving on battlefields, each of whom must be ready to be online 24/7/365.

Perhaps we can make their days just a little more pleasant by saying please or thanks, which would be in keeping with the spirit of the season’s religious holiday and a good way to start the new year.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.