Support contract required techie to lounge around in a $5,000/night hotel room

And be paid danger money while he did it

On Call Welcome once again to On-Call, The Register’s weekly wander through readers’ recollections of being asked to perform tech support under all sorts of strange circumstances, most of them difficult. But not always.

This week, meet a reader we'll Regomize as "Frank" who once worked for a vendor of high-end, mission-critical storage arrays – the sort of stuff that's so important customers pay millions a year for support contracts that guarantee storage ninjas will parachute in to fix problems ASAP.

A few years back, Frank was in the office on a Friday morning when one of those support contracts was activated, and an email landed asking if anyone could get on a plane to visit a client ASAP.

At the time, Frank was not a designated storage support ninja – so he ignored the request.

But an hour later another email landed: Frank's employer was offering a bonus to whoever took the job.

With nothing planned for the weekend, and confidence he could do a decent job as a storage ninja, Frank agreed to do it.

He quickly found himself on a plane bound for a significant European city, where the Department of Justice operated a storage array.

The job had something to do with a disk failure that had inconveniently struck mere days before a local court was due to hand down its decision in a case so significant that Frank said "half of Europe's media had descended on the city to wait for the verdict."

While the disk failure was a minor matter, the Justice Department's tech team had panicked. Frank's employer told them not to touch a thing. And when he arrived, Frank received the same instruction – plus orders to ensure he was available on immediate standby in case of further problems.

That meant finding a hotel to crash in for the weekend.

Remember that waiting horde of media? They'd booked all the hotels in town.

Frank could not find a room out in the burbs, nor beyond. But the client was having none of that. They wanted him within short strolling distance of the array in case its issues threatened to derail justice.

A call to his employer's corporate travel team yielded news that one room meeting the terms of the support contract remained available: a deluxe suite in a top global hotel chain.

Frank looked up the price on the hotel's web site.

"It cost over $5,000 per night," he told On Call, confessing "I'd never seen anything quite like it." And he hasn't since.

One of the gold-framed mirrors alone was "close to the size of my room in the shared house I lived in back home."

The room service menu was splendid. So was the 12-seat dining table at which he could consume whatever he summoned.

Lest you think Frank was wallowing in lazy luxury, the suite also had a separate office "with an enormous wooden desk."

Frank got to spend the whole weekend in that suite and quite enjoyed it – even if he was never able to fully indulge himself, given the client was paying him to spring into storage ninja mode.

And then the dream of hanging around in five star luxury doing nothing died. The court handed down its decision on Monday, fixing the array took five whole minutes, and Frank was on a plane home and back at his very non-luxurious desk by Tuesday.

When he arrived, he gained two things.

One was the promised bonus payment.

The other was a marvelous memory of "a very decent weekend."

In his mail to On Call, Frank pointed out his story is a rare example of an IT pro coming out ahead after a tech support incident. If you have had a similarly pleasant time while on a job, click here to send On Call an email and we may celebrate your success on a future Friday. ®

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