On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our weekly wander through readers' recollections of their ramblings to customer sites after being called out to fix stuff.
This week, reader Tim shares a tale from “About 7 years ago when I was working for a software-as-a-service company based in the UK.”
Things were going well and the company was expanding its presence in San Jose with a new cage of eight racks full of servers.
Tim's employer decided to hire “a well known provider of such services” to do the racking and stacking inside the cage. Once that was sorted, “we had one of the staff from our Silicon Valley office go to site and configure up an IP KVM so we could build the servers remotely.”
But something went wrong.
“Over the course of a week this guy, the rack and stack provider and eventually the data centre staff all tried to work out why we couldn't get a signal from any of the servers on the KVM,” Tom recalls. “Eventually management gave up and asked me to go to site and see what was going on.”
“I was already scheduled to be in Virginia, so I only had to cross the USA to get there. When I arrived at site I spotted the issue as soon as I saw the servers, before I even got into the cage. I walked into the cage and went to each rack turning the servers on one by one.” At which point the KVM signal came through loud and clear.
Hang on Tim: what do you mean you turned the servers on? How was it that nobody had tried that before?
“To be fair,” Tim says, “they did have lights on before I switched them on.”
“But anyone who has worked with Dell servers should be able to tell the difference between the 'I have power' lights and the 'I am running' lights.”
“Also the lack of fan noise really should have given it away.”
Yes it should, Tim. Yes it should.
“So within 10 minutes of arrival I was ready for the 10 hour flight home,” Tim's mail concluded.
By our calculations Tim would have flown at least five hours from Virginia to San Jose, plus ten back to blighty. That's 15 hours aloft to spend ten minutes turning some servers on.
Have your on-call experiences topped Tim's? If so, let me know by writing me an electronic letter. ®