Friday, June 25, 2004

The Professors Curse
Listen children, for I will share with you a dreadful tale! Long, long, ago an IT manager built a server. The server was strong, and plentiful. And the IT manager fashioned it in his presence, naming it Prof. That IT manager was later shit-canned in a lay-off of mass proportions. Years later this server named Prof came to a crashing halt, as several of the 2GB SCSI drives of 5 years passed came to a bitter end. In the week that followed that server was replaced with a great, powerful server called MAIL.

MAIL was a server of great magnitude. It's processor was a mighty Xeon 550 Mhz, and it's RAM was a generous 512MB. But in due time, it too began to die. The people of the land (the IT staff) had great pity on the server. Why had it not held up as well as the mighty Prof? In an effort to save the server a new RAID card and larger drives were purchased. And it was good.

And now my children, comes the sad part of our story. MAIL is no longer. Just this passed evening, it has demised. Feast your eyes upon it's lack of a response to an OWA request!

Ring! Ring! It was 4:00PM and Ray was still teaching. "Silence!", he shouted as he sent the call to voicemail. As Ray finished class and began to drive home, he heard a familiar tone rining out of his pocket. It was voice mail. Ray would learn that the MAIL server had met a brutal end. It's motherboard burnt, it's RAID failed on two levels. It was requested that Ray return to work. Ray's anger ran deep.

"WHY?", shouted Ray. "Why should I be the one to have to deal with this nightmare? Did I not tell management that the server was dying almost two years ago? Did I not remind management that it needed replaced? Did I not express my disgust that the server was not being backed up?". Ray hurried into his house, still gripping his cell phone in anger. The devil washed over Ray as his face grew a dark red. Ray fought the demon, with two beers. But the demon was strong!

An hour went by. The phone rang again. It was not fixed yet. And Ray was still not at work. Ray declined to come to the office. One more hour passed. The phone rang again. It was 8:00PM, and the IT staff had not been able to save the server. Ray knew, he had better put on his Chuck-T's and promptly make his way into the office.

8:30PM. Ray arrives through the side door, finding an emptied server closet, and no technicians. Heading upstairs, Ray finds four gentlemen gathered around a dead server on the floor. Like a sacrificial lamb, the server laid open with it's guts strewn about. The men looked pale, hungry, and disgusted. Ray would learn that the four men had attempted to rebuild the RAID array to save it's mail database but had been unsuccessful. One of the men had gone home, and returned with a drive to fit the server, but after an hour or more of formatting and fidgeting, the server would have none of it.

10:30PM. Seeing that the server would not be repairable, it was covered and pushed into a corner. Now the work began on pulling together it's replacement. MAIL would be replaced with a classroom student machine. It's hard disk storage system; a single IDE drive in a drive carrier. It wasn't much ... but it would suffice.

12:00AM. The men growing tired huddled over the server while it slowly installed Windows 2003 Small Business Server. Looking at his watch, one of the men shouted, "I ought to call my boss. He said he could install this in an hour. It's been almost two".

12:30AM. The installation comes to an end, and the four men create accounts on the box. As their brains grow tired, and starved from lack of dinner, they have a hard time remembering who to re-add to the server. And how do you spell that one guy's name exactly? With two P's and an E.

1:00AM. With the server installation complete, all that was left to do was to set the server into the network, and change the firewall to accept the changes. Ray's glorious FreeBSD firewall was quietly shut down and pushed into a corner. As Ray's eyes drooped, he muttered "there goes a few months of uptime". The server to forward the packets ... a Microsoft ISA server.

1:10AM. One of the IT men ponders how to change a setting in ISA server. Ray, and the remaining three IT workers stare back at him. It seems not anyone is familiar with this awful product. After several long moments of silence, Ray declares "I could perform this funtion in a single line of my ipnat configuration file". Silence again falls upon the tiring men.

1:30AM. Having fumbled in and out of the hundreds of buried wizards, settings, and keys the men depart the building with the job left unfinished.

2:00AM. Ray arrives home and prepares a delicious dinner of shredded wheat. He had been hungry so long, that the meal began to make him sick falling down into empty stomach. "The devil smiles upon me!" said Ray as he dumped his long awaited meal down the disposal.

Epilogue - Friday morning Ray returned to work a bit confused and exhausted. He finished out his work day blogging, and waiting for SBC to finish their work. As Ray walked out of the office, and made his best attempt to dodge a Danny Glover cliche' as he muttered, "I'm getting too old for this shit".

Current Mood: Tired
Musical Inspiration: I Hear A Radio In My Head (but I am delusional)

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