The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, April 14, 2000

“Don't Panic!”

While Mark and I were doing a fast recovery of a customer machine we received a call from John, the paper millionaire of a dotcom company and former member of a Grateful Dead cover band to say he couldn't get to his servers, located in the very same co-location facility we were currently at.

Mark goes over to John's machines. All servers are up, but he can't ping out. In fact, he can't get past the first hop. Mark then heads over to the core room, I remain in the co-location room, and we all get on a conference call.

Network seems okay—link light is on at both ends of the connection. No traffic. Jiggle the cord. Oh! A few packets. Then major lossage again. Repeat.

John is freaking out because he needs to be on a plane early and it's now 3:30 am or there abouts. He finally conferences in the main sysadmin for Atlantic Internet because Mark and I can't figure out what's going on.

Neither could the sysadmin. Everything seems okay. Only there's no traffic. John, panicing is yelling at Mark. Mark is yelling back at John not to panic. Meanwhile we can barely hear the sysadmin over the conference call. Pandemonium reigns.

I quickly grab the network analyzer they have (way too cool) an hook it to John's side of the connection. It lights up like a Christmas tree. Low utilization, high collisions and an even larger rate of errors. I then take the unit to the Atlantic Internet side. Nothing. Normal traffic from John's servers.

We then plug the network analyzer into the Cisco Catalyst 5000 which is serving as the main switch. Actually, it's more like three switched hubs than a real switch—there are 24 ports grouped into three sections. Each section is a hub, but switched between sections.

The network analyzer lights up like a Christmas tree.

The consensus seems to be that the Catalyst is hosed. It probably didn't survive a DoS attack a few days previously and was slowly going bad. So it was some quick work to rerun a few cables to nearby switches and remove the Catalyst from service.

Mark and I didn't leave the office until 5 am.

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2023 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.