[I'm typing this on the absolute worst keyboard we have here at The Office. It's actually in the Data Center and it's the small rack-mounted keyboard. It has an okay feel, but the layout sucks. I'll try not to bitch too much as I'm writing this.
[Why am I typing this entry from the Data Center? Well, that's answered in the next entry, not this one. This one details the beginning of the end of the day here at The Office (XXX XXXXXX XXXXX XX XXXX XXXXXXXX X XXXX XXXX X XXXX XXXX)]
I was stuck in a lame episode of “Three's Company”.
Working from home, while nice, does have its drawbacks, and one of them is the breakdown of communication between myself, Smirk and P (since none of us are at The Office on any regular basis). Smirk thought I would be going into The Office yesterday, but nope, I worked from home. He wanted me in the office to configure a DSL unit for an employee of XXXXXXXX (yes, that company, the one I did all the router configuration for).
So into the office I go.
Smirk also wanted me to drop off the DSL unit at XXXXXXXX, and while I was there, I might as well drop in the managed firewall that I set up for them that's been sitting above my desk for the past two or three months (eek!). I get the DSL unit configured, check the firewall to make sure it's ready (it was) and plan on going over to XXXXXXXX around 5:30 pm.
Around 4:45 pm I get a call from F, who works at XXXXXXXX. One of their colocated machines is not responding and could I reboot it? That's not a problem, so before I simply power cycle the box, I hook the crash cart up to the unit to see what might have caused it to crash.
A bad hard drive.
Tons of hard drive errors are flashing past on the screen, so fast, so furious, that I hit the Big Red Switch and reboot the box. F was happy with the machine responding normally after rebooting, so we hung up.
A few minutes later, F calls back.
Now, before I continue, I have to digress and explain a few things. “Smirk” is not my boss' real name—it's a pseudonym (obviously). So, for the sake of this story, while I call him “Smirk” his “legal” name is actually “Smirkittius” (hey, you try to form a “formal name” from a pseudonym) and he prefers people to call him “Smirkittius,” but I've been calling him “Smirk” since I met him in college and habits die hard.
The computer guy at XXXXXXXX is also called “Smirk.” And sometimes it's hard to remember if “Smirk” referrs to “Smirk” from XXXXXXXX or “Smirkittius” [and if you can't see where this is headed, then count yourself lucky that you haven't been subjected to endless repeats of “Three's Company”].
So F calls back, saying that Smirk is coming over to the office with a new server to replace the one that's dying, and could I help him? Well … yes … but Smirk knows how to setup and copy files from one Linux system to another. I can already feel the day getting worse. So I'm expecting Smirk to drive down to XXXXXXXX, pick up the new server, then head over to The Data Center and copy files.
It's the time I had originally planned on driving over to XXXXXXXX to drop off the DSL unit and install the firewall. I figure I'll go over there, then come back here and continue helping Smirk with the dying server.
I get over to XXXXXXXX to find a surprised F. He had just sent over Smirk with the server and had expected me to be there.
Oh … XXXXXXXX's Smirk, not my boss Smirkittius.
F was also confused when I handed him the DSL unit. He had no idea who it
was for. I called
Smirk Smirkittius to make sure I was supposed
to drop it off at XXXXXXXX. Yup, Smirk was going to install the DSL
unit for B. Okay.
Then there was some confusion about serial ports but largely, the firewall install went smoothly with minimal problems. I then headed back to the office to meet with Smirk about the dead server problem.
Even he hadn't heard about the DSL unit.
At that point, I half expected Mr. Furley to rush in [I did mention the communication problems stemming from working at home, right?].
[So now we get to learn why Sean is using a crappy keyboard in the Data Center to write these entries and not a real keyboard. I would also advise you to read that entry for the necessary background of events leading to this situation. —Editor]
The idea is to copy the files from the dying server to the new server. XXXXXXXX had a spare computer lying around, already pre-installed with Linux. So the easiest thing would be to copy the critical files over (the server in question is just a mail server—that's it). Should be a simple operation.
There's that word again.
We get the new server on a temporary IP address and start copying files. One of the directories we need to copy over is the mail spool directory, but copying the files is taking way too long.
As in “at this rate, this 10M file will take two hours to copy across the local 100Mbps network” too long. Something was wrong with XXXXXXXXX's switch, and no amount of mucking with either server's network card settings would get the connection to go any faster.
I then grabbed a spare switch sitting above my desk and plugged both machines into that.
I then realized that both machines were technically in different networks. Once I put then into the same network the copy proceeded at a much faster pace.
It still took over an hour to copy the files though.
[And that's why I was sitting in the Server Room making entries. Thankfully, everything worked after that.]