Tuesday, May 16, 2006

IT Horror Story

Late on Saturday morning I got a call from one of the fourteen WAN sites I am responsible for supporting and the caller tells me that he hasn't had access to the WAN since sometime on Friday. (Needless to say, WAN accessibility isn't mission critical for this site.) Because it was nearly Noon (closing time on Saturdays) and the site was far away, I told him I would have to look into it first thing on Monday.

Naturally, on Monday everything else is going to hell because computers love to break themselves during the weekend; so I send my minion, Daniel, out to the site with the WAN problems to check on their network hardware. He goes to the site's scalehouse first, since that is where the user who called me works. Daniel finds that the LAN extender in the scalehouse is showing a failed connection to the building where the router is and calls to tell me this, thinking this is the problem. Well, I had tried connecting to the router earlier and got no response, so I put the fact that the LAN extender and the router were both down together with the fact that both were plugged into the same UPS and brilliantly concluded that the UPS was either off or otherwise without power. I tell Daniel to go to the building the router is in and check the UPS.

A few minutes later, I get another call from Daniel. "Yeah, um.... the router isn't here."

"WHAT?!? What do you mean it isn't there?"

"Yeah, the router, switch and LAN extender are all gone. Someone unmounted them from the wall and they're gone. Everything is gone: the patch cables, the power cables, the UPS, even the line to connect the router to the smart jack. It's all gone."

Unbelievable! The reason the network doesn't work is because it isn't there! So I call Art, who shared his office with the router and the rest of the network gear.

"Art, you know all those boxes I had screwed into the wall in your office? They aren't there anymore. Do you have any idea what happened to them?"

"Oh those? Well we're moving to the old tire shop in the canyon and I had one of my guys take my computer out of the office and he took all that stuff off the wall too."

"Well, where is it, Art? I need that stuff... no one in any of the other buildings at West Quarry can do anything because that stuff isn't there!"

"Oh, I gave all that stuff to Willie [the Phone tech.]"

Son of a bitch! Naturally, Willie gets a pile of network gear and cables and doesn't think to call me about it. Why am I not surprised? So I call Willie...

"Willie, do you have the router and other network equipment from West Quarry?"

"Yeah, do you need it?"

Sweet Jesus. "Do you need it?" What the fuck is that? Is that a serious question? I am surrounded by assholes.

So... I collect the network components from Willie and send Daniel back out to the site to remount everything. Amazingly, it all still worked.

Now, what kind of Fred Flintstone mother-fucker, when told to remove a computer, removes every piece of equipment between that computer and the T1 smart jack? "Oh, there's a cable connected to the computer, where does it go? It seems to go to this box mounted to the wall with all these pretty blinking lights! Computers in them moving picture shows have blinking lights, so it must be part of the computer! Hmm... this box is connected to other boxes with more blinking lights! I bet those are part of the computer too!"

He carries on like that until he gets to a box labeled "Property of SBC." Thank God he didn't try to remove that. Actually, I'd bet the only reason he stopped there is because you need a special barrel key to get the smart jack box open before you can unscrew it from the wall.

[Cartman voice]...so pissed off right now... ...going to kill you guys... ...seriously...[/Cartman voice]


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