BOFH: Every silver lining has a cloud

Tout, tout, through and about, your callow life in dismay...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Episode 5

"Code Magenta," the PFY mumbles quietly as he wanders past me on the way to Mission Control.

"Code Magenta!" the Director's PA repeats in hushed tones, unable to keep her nose out of things that don’t concern her – "What does that mean?"

"It's a systems code about operational availability," I lie. "We have various codes depending on the potential impact of any situation on our service level agreements."

Which is a lie. We don't have systems codes or operational availability and the last person who tried to force us into a service level agreement is rumoured to be very close to being able to touch a lightswitch without crapping himself.

"So what's Magenta mean?" the Director's PA asks, in the same hushed tones I'm sure she'll use to pass this on to the rest of the IQ-challenged crowd at lunchtime – in between salacious gossip about the royal family and this week's reality TV recap.

"Magenta means operational reversion standby," I say, cranking up the seemingly technical importance of Code Magenta without actually giving any useful information away. At this point operational reversion standby could mean I'm waiting outside the toilets to take a dump or I'm ready to press the power button on my desktop machine.

"Really!" she gasps. "Is that bad?"

"Bad's a relative term. Code Hot-Chilli-Red is worse, and Code Victim Orange is better – but all of them are worth looking into."

I could talk crap like this for days, but I'm not going to. We're at Code Magenta!

Code Magenta, as the PFY and I both know, is the code for hostile takeover. Not of the company, but of the IT services. In these days of Cloud Computing, SAAS, and mobile workspaces, the streets are littered with smooth-talking types in casually precise business clothes talking the words we all like to hear – simplicity, redundancy, and of course, lower cost.

The same people who used words like "synergy", "enterprise solution" and "Total Cost of Ownership" five years ago are still using words like that now, only this time they've added to their vocabulary with the catchphrases-de-jour of the cloud mentality.

Sure enough as my conversation with the PA dies a natural death from three-syllable word poisoning, two smooth-looking sales types rock on up to see the Director.

"Simon!" the Director gasps guiltily, noticing me outside for the first time. "How convenient. I was just going to listen to a presentation about some potential areas for savings in our IT budget and I thought you might like to sit in!"

Now sitting through a sales pitch from some clean-shaven charmer fresh out of MBA school is about as appealing to me as performing my own testicular surgery with a hole punch and a 100watt soldering iron, however I know the Director doesn't want me there, so right away I’m starting to warm to it.

"Fantastic!" I say, faking enthusiasm, and shaking hands all round.

Ten minutes later we're in the thick of it, and I'm hearing how data abstraction has never been so good and how RAID comes a poor second to clouded duplicated RAID spread out over the globe. The iPad2-rich media presentation has the desired "shiny bead" effect on the Director and by the end of it he's almost begging to sign up.

"We've already got that," I say to the Director, before he can whip his pen out. Well I assume it's a pen he's fumbling around furiously in his trouser pocket for.

"I ... thought all your data is in the server room," Smooth Guy 1 says.

"No, it's in our own Cloud," I ad-lib. "Well, when I say 'our own' I mean we signed up to a partnership agreement with several companies all over the Globe to each backup the other's services in a multi-homed data centre cloud," I reply, turning to the Director. "Surely I told you about that?"

"Uh – no..."

"Oh. Well I meant to. Yeah, we have a five-year contract with each other to make available a stack of virtual resource. We use freebie sync and schedule software to ensure redundancy amongst all the member partners and to our systems it just looks like it's hosted in the server room like a normal system."

"So your data is totally protected?" Smooth Guy 2 asks, too professional to cough "*bullshit*".

"Absolutely," I say smugly, knowing he can't prove me wrong.

"And your data sits?" he asks, trying to find a weak spot in my lies.

"All over the place," I lie. "I know we had some problems after the recent tsunami, so I can only assume that part of one datacentre was partially deployed in Japan but I'm fairly confident that we'll be back to full 100 per cent redundancy once our local data is completely resynced and verified."

Smooth Guy 2's a little put out at my answer, which can only mean he was going to suggest we power-down the data centre to test our redundancy, but he knows that any outage would immediately be blamed on Fukishima.

"Well it looks like you're all covered, what with the global network and that 'contract' and all," Smooth Guy 1 says with just a dash of sarcasm. "Though I'd really like to see that contract – just out of professional interest."

"I don't see why not," The Director agrees.

"Sure," I say, dialling the PFY on hands-free.

"Systems," the PFY answers.

"Hey, it's me. Can you bring over a copy of that Global Cloud contract that we signed with those overseas companies to share each other's resources to create our own multihomed Cloud? You know the one with the freebie sync and schedule software?"

"I think it's in the document safe," the PFY lies. "I'll just dig it up."

"Yes, make sure it's the latest version – the one with the five-year term."

The next five minutes pass quietly. Well, relatively quietly. I thought I saw a black widow spider and leapt backwards – unfortunately landing right in the middle of an iPad screen – but it turned out to be a bit of dust. Ah well.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
prev story


Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.