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Why not to put all your blades in one basket

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Episode 36

"Why," the boss asks us early one morning, looking thoughtful "don't we use virtual servers?"

"What do you mean?" I ask, dreading the possible problems the Boss is about to bestow on us.

"Virtual Servers - you know, ones which aren't real."

"Oh, we've got a stack of those," the PFY adds. "Downstairs in the virtual bunker, remember."

"I..." the Boss says, trying to avoid a topic that upsets him. "I mean that we should be able to use...virtual servers on a...blade...er...platform...to deliver thin client...uh solutions."

I take a moment from wondering who the Boss has been speaking to in order to be impressed by his almost faultless delivery. Ordinarily, a sentence like that with it's multiple technical terms and seeming logic should have given someone of his mental capacity a couple of fatal memory errors trying to get that all out, but not this time...

It's almost like he's been practising.

"In theory it's a workable solution," the PFY responds. "But in practice we haven't got any thin clients."

"Really?" the Boss asks.

"Nah, they're a bunch of fat bastards who complain about the speed of the Mailserver or how we won't let them keep all their MP3s in the content management system. Whiney salad dodgers to a man!"

"I was talking about a thin server clients," the Boss adds dryly.

Honestly, it's almost like he knows what he's talking about!!!! While I'm looking out the window for one of the other signs of the apocalypse the PFY decides to get to the root of the problem.

"Oh right," the PFY responds, faking a misunderstanding. "So why would we be wanting to install them?"

"To make more use of our servers, of course!" the Boss explains.

"We already make a lot of use of them."

"Yes, but it seems to me that we just keep on buying machines!" he says.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, this for instance. You want me to sign off two new mail servers and yet I notice that my predecessors have approved over 20 new servers in this financial year alone!"

"That's about normal," I say. "It's something to do with the fiscal advantages of an accelerated depreciation program. Apparently, it saves us money if we have a lowered expectation of server life due to the amount of work they do."

"But it costs us money in buying new machines."

"Well, I don't pretend to understand the workings of high finance," I say. "But what with that and the ongoing growth in use of all our services..."

"But you already replaced the two email servers in the servers you bought earlier in the year!" the Boss gasps.

I think quickly while mentally cursing the PFY for his poor research into a back story...

"Again, nothing out of the ordinary in that - we're simply maximising the use of the machines by replacing them on the same schedule as the original machines were purchased - two in the first quarter and two in the third quarter. Replacing them all at the same time would mean outages and possible loss of communication channels which could affect our business reputation - and we definitely wouldn't want that."

"No, I suppose you're right," the Boss sighs. "But surely we could consolidate all these servers into a single...uh...blade server and save ourselves some money?"

"We could, but then we have service redundancy to consider and putting all our eggs in one blade basket, so to speak, could lead to a complete disaster. So it pays to have our services scattered on various servers in what appears - to the casual observer - to be a random and ad-hoc manner designed to increase our spend with a computing vendor so as to qualify for free conferences at holiday destinations."

"Did you say free holidays?" the Boss asks, shucking off the dead weight of his principles.

"Free conferences, at holiday destinations, yes."

"Destinations like?"

"Well, there's a conference coming up on the Spanish Coast in a couple of weeks - but I don't think our spend currently qualifies us for attendance."

"What about with the two email servers?" he asks.

"Almost, but I don't think it'll push us over the edge."

"You could get a third one for...uh...redundancy," the Boss hints.

"Yes, you're probably right," the PFY says, taking the order form from the Boss' hand and making some alterations.

"Right, well, I'm glad we cleared that up," the Boss pinnochios, shakedown complete. "So I'll just pass this through to our financials people then. When do you think they'll be delivered?"

"I think they've got some in stock," the PFY says, opening the Blade configurator. "In fact, I think they'll be here quicker than you can say Jack Robinson."

"I don't think so!" the Boss chortles "Jack >CLICK< >CLICK< Robinson."

...

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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