BOFH: But soft! What light through yonder filing cabinet breaks?

It is green, and BOFH is not the one. It's only a, er, miner problem …


BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 12 "Everything's just so expensive!" the Boss says.

"Yeah, well, that's the way it goes – nothing's getting cheaper."

"But we're always being told computers are getting cheaper."

"Yes, they're getting relatively cheaper, but if you want to keep up with current technology you need new underlying hardware, not the budget stuff that needs 100 per cent CPU for Minesweeper."

"But last year we spent more money than ever!"

"Yes, because we had people working from home and they needed equipment to work on."

"But we spent lots of money on SERVERS!"

"Obviously we needed more equipment to support working from home."

"But you always said we're using the cloud?"

"For some things, yes, but not for others. We still need on-site computing. We'll always need something on site."

"But it was so much money – and this year we spent even more!!!"

"Yes, we needed to install off-site access last year, but this year we need to replace all the on-site access equipment that we didn't replace last year as well as the on-site equipment we were scheduled to replace this year."

"I mean, I don't even know what a … uh … mining rig is," the Boss blathers.

I make a mental note to give our supplier a lesson on the dangers of high voltage for not labelling this gear with something more management-acceptable whilst at the same time fabricating a response to the boss's query.

"Well as you know, the mining industry has always been at the forefront of computing because of the processing requirements required for seismic surveys, multidimensional array positioning and cross-polar Mandelbrot-Fourier interpolation. So it's pretty much a no-brainer that we should also be using computing of a similar quality."

"It says 128-bit. Isn't Windows 64-bit?" the Boss asks.

"Yes, yes, but the mining industry realised early that they would need more zeros to count the amount of money they were earning, so they developed an even bigger bit system. And as OUR company has projected a season of post-COVID growth, we thought it prudent to opt for hardware that would keep pace with that growth."

"Oh. Yes. I see. I suppose. But did we need so many of them?"

"We're hardly going to replace only ONE of our servers are we? No, we'd replace ALL the really important servers with our new technology."

"And we've got 12 important servers??"

"Actually we wanted 14, but unfortunately our supplier didn't have that many on hand."

"OK then, but what about all those graphics cards you've been ordering?" he gasps.

"You're the one who wanted full colour pie charts with more detail," I say, making yet another mental note to wander around the building uncrippling desktop display settings.

"It was so much money," he repeats.

"Sure – but it's what we have to pay if we want to be up to date."

"Can I see those servers?" the Boss asks.

"Uh, sure. We can pop into the server room and take a look at them now if you like."

In my peripheral vision I can see the PFY reaching for the workplace accident report form, but I shake my head slightly and take the Boss into the server room.

"There," I say, opening the door and gesturing into the room.

"WHERE?" the Boss asks, over the whine of the process chillers.

"THERE, THERE, THERE, THERE, AND A COUPLE OVER THERE, SOME OVER THERE AND, OH, THIS ONE RIGHT HERE."

I'm gesturing vaguely around the room pointing at equipment with which the Boss is completely unfamiliar, having no real history in the IT business at all. As long as I don't point at anything that might at one time have run Lotus 1-2-3, I'm fairly sure it'll be new-to-him.

"OH," the boss blurts, disappointedly.

"OH?"

"I DON'T KNOW, I JUST THOUGHT THEY'D LOOK NEWER," he says, looking through a rack door grill at a ProLiant 6500 which has been out of service for more than ten years and is only in the rack because we cross-threaded the mounting bolts and can't get it out.

"AND …" he continues, looking around in a slightly confused manner.

"AND?"

"DIDN'T THIS ROOM USED TO BE BIGGER?"

"Bigger?" I say, as we step out of the room. "How could it possibly have been bigger?"

"Oh, I don't know," he says, admitting defeat. Which is a much better response than: "So you didn't build a false wall to hide a couple of racks of Bitcoin mining servers, drill a hole through the ceiling to steal power from the Beancounter department so it wouldn't show up on our meter, and vent the excess heat into the main office ceiling space?"

"It could be worse, I suppose," the Boss admits. "I was talking to the head of Accounting this morning and apparently their power consumption has almost doubled since they came back."

I make a mental note to drill a hole in the Beancounter's ceiling to spread the power over another floor.

And they say computing's getting more expensive …

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