hey! writes "The Boston Globe reports that Beth Israel Deaconess hospital suffered a major network outage due to a problem with spanning tree protocol. Staff had to scramble to find old paper forms that hadn't been used in six years so they could transfer vital patient records and prescriptions. Senior executives were reduced to errand runners as the hospital struggled with moving information around the campus. People who have never visited Boston's Medical Area might not appreciate the magnitude of this disaster: these teaching hospitals are huge, with campuses and staff comparable to a small college, and many, many computers. The outage lasted for days, despite Cisco engineers from around the region rushing to the hospital's aid. Although the article is short on details, the long term solution proposed apparently is to build a complete parallel network. Slashdot network engineers (armchair and professional): do you think the answer to having a massive and unreliable network is to build a second identical network?"
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