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.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

What type of data center doesn't have a crash cart?

Dispite my trying to avoid it, I had to drive down to Miami to reboot a server into single user mode, copy a file, then reboot it back into normal operations. To make it even more surreal, I was informed that the Miami NAP does not have a crash cart on the premises.

What type of data center does not have a crash cart?

And in case you are wondering what a “crash cart” is, it's a cart that has a monitor, keyboard and mouse that you can push around to hook up to a computer in case you need to locally check a server. A top of the line crash cart can't cost more than a grand, and given that the Miami NAP is nothing more than a six story data center you would expect (okay, I would expect) them to have at least one crash cart.

So not only did I have to drive an hour south to Miami to reboot a server, but I had to carry along a monitor and keyboard with me.


I ended up lashing a monitor and keyboard with rope to The Kids' luggage cart (since the bungee cords have long since been lost). Servicable, but still took about twenty minutes to do the lashing. The drive down to Miami wasn't bad, but as I eyed northbound I-95 I knew I would be in for a long drive home.

Once I arrived at the Maimi NAP, it took over half an hour to locate the appropriate cabinet. I knew the cabinet was on the second floor, but past that, it was a maze of twisty passages, all alike. There were two of us, myself and a security guard, walking up and down rows of racks. Eventually the security guard found the right cabinet.

Several minutes to set up the monitor and keyboard. Reboot twice, since I found out the hard way that the timeout value to boot into single user mode was about two seconds, if that. Then it was a matter of copying a backup of /etc/passwd into place, reboot, test, and two minutes later, done. Then fifteen minutes or so lashing the monitor and keyboard back to the cart, finding my way out of the labrynth and a long slow drive home.

And I ask again: what type of data center doesn't have a crash cart?

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