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BOFH: The Batcave

We've got to win it first

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Security for virtualized datacentres

Episode 19

"You know," I say to the PFY as I pore over some building plans. "I don't think the beancounters are as big a set of idiots as we've given them credit for."

"How's that then?" the PFY asks.

"This building they've bought - I've done some admittedly rough sums based around the floor space and previous sales in the area, and I think we may have got a real bargain!"

"Really?" the PFY says dubiously. "But what does it have to recommend it?"

"There are seven pubs and two Indian joints within a one block radius, a tube station a couple of blocks away and a women's fitness centre across the road."

"Oh," the PFY says. "What about the building?"

"It's an old government department building - from the days when they were all self-contained."

"Meaning?"

"Meaning this place had a vehicle workshop, a huge store, cafeteria, plant rooms, the works!"

"So where's the server room going?"

"There's two options - the one that the architects have selected, taking into account the needs of insulation, access to services and security..."

"And?"

"And the place we’re going to go - immediately above the vehicle service bays - taking into account the proximity to pubs/curry houses and that Mission Control would then overlook the fitness place."

"But why above the service bays?"

"We could install all our plants in the service bays as opposed to the computer suite and just duct everything up."

"Doesn't seem to be much of a gain to me..."

"We could section off another part of the bays and use it for tape safes."

"Yes, but it d-"

"We could cut off another chunk and keep all our spares in it."

"Still..."

"WE COULD CUT A HOLE IN THE FLOOR OF MISSION CONTROL, INSTALL A POLE, KEEP A CAR IN THE SERVICE BAYS AND CALL IT THE BATMOBILE!"

"Now you're talking!" the PFY says enthusiastically. "But we’d need to have electric doors with fake windows painted on them. Or trees! Yes, a real batcave! But won't we have a bit of trouble changing the architect's minds?"

"Nah, we just use some airy-fairy palaver about that location being ideal for input into building heating, carbon neutral, etc. They eat that sort of thing up."

“You lost me.”

“Well, with the push for being carbon neutral we just say that we’ll use the heat from the computer room to heat the building.”

“And in summer?”

“We use it to heat the pool.”

“What pool?”

“The one in the women’s fitness centre. Obviously there’ll need to be the odd bit of maintenance work...”

. . .

“You can’t go there,” the Director says.

“Are you sure?” the PFY asks, waving the ‘insulation tester’ around.

“It’s not me!” he snivels. “Security want it for their main office, stores want it for the main store and the accountants want it for storing our paper records.”

. . . One large building fire later . . .

“Someone’s going to have to pay for this,” the head beancounter sniffs as the fire brigade hose a stack of ashen paper out of one of the basement storerooms.

“And so they should!” the PFY says. “Who was it said we should only do the mandatory servicing on our fire and intrusion alarms?”

. . .

“So it’s just you, security and stores then?” the director asks later in the day. “And I take it there will be no more suspicious fires?”

“You have to be joking – no, this has to be settled amicably between colleagues. The PFY will see how they’d like to do it.”

. . .

“So it’s a game of darts then?” the PFY says to the stores and security managers.

“Uh-huh,” they respond in unison. “Cider darts!”

. . .

“You’re really going to play darts for your rooms?” the Boss asks.

Cider darts,” the PFY corrects.

“What’s that then?”

“A pint of cider to start,” the security manager says, trundling over under the weight of a pile of lunchtime kebabs. “A pint of cider per round, a pint of cider if a dart misses the board or bounces back onto the floor. A pint of cider to finish.”

“Catch it with your foot?” the PFY asks.

“If you catch a bounced dart with your foot before it hits the floor, you can replay it without forfeit,” the stores manager nods.

“Injury time?”

“Forfeit the game.”

“Are you sure you want to do this?” the Boss whispers to me, moments later. “They look like they’re pretty good.”

“They should be – they’ve both got pub teams, and one of the stores guys brews his own cider.”

“You don’t stand a chance!” the Boss gasps.

“’Least we’re having a go though!” I say, as the PFY wanders off to set up the board and grab a couple of dozen boxes of pikey mouthwash.

. . . The next day . . .

“How did it go?” the Boss asks.

“Mint!” the PFY says. “Touch and go for a while, but in the end we won by forfeit.”

“How?”

“Foot injuries from trying to catch a bounced dart.”

“Both teams?!”

“Yep.”

“Don’t they both wear steel caps?”

“They do, but a steel cap boot is a poor protection from a dart body made out of a rare earth magnet, expelled from the board by a toned down pinch...” the PFY continues.

“I...” the Boss says, after we explain the basic concepts. “And so you won?”

“Well after the PFY had nailed one of the stores guy’s feet to one of the security guy’s feet to the wall behind them it was a bit of a non-event.”

“And there’ll be no... repercussions?”

“Nah, we let them keep the cider!”

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