Boss broke server with a careless keystroke • The Register

When calling Thank you dear reader – the weekend is almost upon us and it’s a nice long one for the US readers of A. But that doesn’t stop us from bringing you another edition of On-Call, The registry‘s weekly reader-contributed story about the thankless tasks demanded of IT professionals.

This week, meet “Dennis,” who worked for a managed service provider in the midst of a data center migration in the early 2000s.

“Our shelves were literally in a closet and a newer room was built next door,” Dennis explained.

As the build progressed, Dennis and his colleagues began moving pieces of equipment around and tidying things up.

“Everything went well,” Dennis recalled.

Until it wasn’t.

“On Sunday evening we noticed things were going slowly but didn’t think much of it – we just assumed an automated process would take longer than usual and things would settle down.”

Things didn’t calm down. Instead, they heated up to the point where everything collapsed.

“Late that night everything died. Our firewalls, servers, the VSA platform we used to manage the client kits, and a local email server.”

Dennis’ co-workers trudged awake and into the data center to find the air conditioning off and the server fans humming.

A keyboard was to blame.

A keyboard?

“The boss was there earlier that day to do more work on the rack and had left a keyboard on the floor, propped up against the fans,” Dennis said. Combined with the push of a door, the keyboard had enough power to do damage.

Dennis found an advantage in the meltdown.

“We wanted to replace a pair of servers with newer models when the new server room was ready,” he explained. Luckily those servers were already in the building. Not so luckily, the keyboard incident meant Dennis had to spend Sunday night and most of Monday rebuilding everything.

Dennis also had to respond to some customer complaints about the outage with a statement that began with “The boss came in on Sunday and left a keyboard lying around…”.

Have seemingly harmless devices given you grief? If so, click here to email On-Call and we may thank you by using your story in a future column. ® Boss broke server with a careless keystroke • The Register

Rick Schindler

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