Pro tip: Servers belong in dry server rooms, not wet cloakrooms

And what are those unused back-up tapes doing under that three-legged table?

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On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our regular look at the things your fellow readers find when they're asked to go out and fix things.

This week we hear about the time that “Stuart” was handed an unusual assignment: his boss asked him to visit his employer's solicitor.

“They felt they had been ripped off by their IT contractor,” Stuart recalls.

It didn't take Stuart long to find the solicitor's server, "in the cloakroom, alongside all the soggy coats and dripping umbrellas”.

The kit had somehow survived the humidity, but was still precarious, as “the main 24-port Hub was balanced on top of the server, remaining in a state of grace only thanks to all the cables attached to it”.

Stuart also noticed a four-legged table with three legs. The fourth was a monitor. Somewhere down there amid the mess was an external HP tape back-up machine.

The boss of the solicitor's office assured him that wonky tables and dripping umbrellas didn't mean he'd skimped on back-up, because he bought a new tape every month. But when Stuart checked to see that data was being preserved, “a Window popped up a prompt asking if I wanted to overwrite the tape”.

Stuart explains: “This disappeared after ten seconds and sure enough, the scheduled back-up was set up to take place at 2AM and no back-ups had taken place for three years! When I explained this to the boss of the solicitor's office, he turned red and almost fainted. No doubt thinking of what the consequences could have been!"

Stuart sorted that in a flash, explained that the firm had plenty of tapes to go on with, departed to the sound of hearty thanks and travelled back to work “feeling smug after moving and fixing the dodgy 'server room', and so much more superior than the IT company he had used”.

Share your tales of coming away from someone else's mess feeling smug by writing to me. Who knows, you could appear in a future On-Call and achieve a very small measure of undying and mostly-anonymous fame. ®

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