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Server room dangerous? Here's BOFH armageddon

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Letters : We hoped not to get any more of your pictures of dangerous server rooms, but you keep them coming, and they're too compelling to resist.

[Last week's pictures are here]

Armageddon is in the air, as you have probably noticed, and a new generation of high tech destructive technology will be unleashed for the first time. But if only the .mil had asked the BOFHs for advice first. Check this out -

Re-wired

"A couple of years ago I was working for Lucent deploying their prepaid systems into client sites," writes one reader, who obviously, must not be named. "One such assignment involved a lengthy deployment in Taiwan. The customer [who must not be named either] had two operational sites in Taipei - one which was a nicely set out server room in a high rise block, and the other was in a derelict factory in a very dodgy area. The factory was being ripped apart and undergoing 'civil reinforcement' to ensure it could withstand the island's regular earthquakes so to get into the place you had to climb over building waste and make your way through to the stairwell (the building wasn't lit) and climb 2 or 3 sets of stairs. Having successfully negotiated this commando course I was presented with the unbelievable sight of a 30 year old aircon unit which cooled about a third of the room, the rest being as hot as a mid summers afternoon at Ayer's rock."

Do you smell burning?

"Ironically enough, a few days later a typhoon tore through the island and brought a complete stop to the project. Unfortunately the fire alarm was activated in the nice shiny high rise building of the first site, setting off the water sprinkler in the server room. Exit stage right several million dollars worth of equipment."

This story comes from the BBC.

"I've got a rather good story from when I was working at the BBC in London as a computer cleaning contractor. Every cable in the building ends up in the basement, as one nice big mess of spaghetti. The room immediately above this was decorated just after
Christmas 2001. After painting this room, the decorators decided to tip their buckets of painty, murky water down a sink by the wall. This sink was not connected to anything. Said buckets of water proceeded to drop all over the floor and filter through a convenient hole.

"As luck would have it, this hole was immediately above the hundreds of network ports
which are so crucial to the BBC's operation. So myself and my boss get called in to scrub the cables and ports clean without unplugging a single one. Which we do. In a hot dusty basement and it takes us a whole day. By now the cleaning staff have been made aware of the mess upstairs. Obviously you can't have a floor covered in paint, so they mop it. And mop it they do. Cue paint shower number 2. I don't think I need to say any more."

The two extraordinary pictures above are from an administrator at an educational institution, and these are surely the most twisted and dangerous server rooms of all. Is this you, then?

"No," said our correspondent. "i thretened the good folks here at work that
if they piss me off this is the result of their 'wulf", he replied. Fair enough, and keep up the fighting spirit.

Here's one that can be vouched for, and was taken on a reader's site visit to the Netherlands.

"The air-conditioner in this case is in the ceiling above the left end of the server and it drips. The solution that the Dutch used was not to stick their finger in the hole to stop the leak (which is the traditional solution to problems such as porous dykes) but to give the server rack a "rain hat" - a metal plate with down-turned edges so that the drips end up on the floor rather than the inside of the machine. This cannot be a unique solution, but it's the only time I've seen it down on this scale.

"The names on the equipment have been blurred to protect the guilty."

Finally we must give credit to two obviously contrived fakes. Completely bizarre, but noteworthy because they're an example of a computer expanding to fill the space available - not something that happens very often in Tokyo, or downtown San Francisco, I suspect.

Let's hear it for the completely expandable, vertical server room:-

Up the wall
Up the wall

Proving the Duct Tape Cult marches from strength to strength. OK, we've mined this seam to exhaustion, we reckon. ®

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