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BOFH: Backup server's failed? We have a backup backup server

But what if the backup backup backup backup backup server fails, Boss?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Episode 6

I bloody hate SRTs (or Server Room Tourists as they're more commonly called).

"And... what does this one do?" the new Boss asks, pointing at a server front panel.

"That would be the frontend of the company portal," the PFY nods knowingly.

"And this one?" he asks, gesturing to the panel below.

"The redundant frontend for the company portal."

"And this?"

"The Database frontend for the portal."

"This?"

"The replicated redundant frontend for the portal."

And so it goes. I'm generally happy with a Boss who either wants to know nothing about the hardware and is happily ignorant OR with a Boss who wants to know every little technical detail and is able to provide intelligent insight into our activities, but a Boss who wants to know everything and yet still be ignorant is pushing the envelope as far as my patience concerned.

And all because he wants to actually see the kit he signed purchase orders for.

So the PFY's doing the server room tour...

If it wasn't for the difficulty of getting black market halon this probably would have been solved with a quick >ca-click< an hour and a half ago...

I can tell that by the third rack that the new Boss's enthusiasm for seeing our operation is beginning to wane, but the PFY has obviously decided to teach him a lesson and is giving him the full unexpurgated tour. At this point the Boss is just saying "This?" and waiting for the PFY to stop talking and move on to the next unit.

The Boss is so technically punch-drunk he wouldn't care what he saw any more – he just wants it to be over. I know this because he didn't even bat an eyelid when the PFY introduced him to the master and backup processors for "The Matrix".

Now it appears the PFY's doing a Excuse-Calendar-like loose triple of: { { primary, secondary, tertiary, backup, redundant, sequentially-paired} { web, portal, financials, backup, authentication, ERP } { server, matrix, frontend, backend, core} }

"Hang on, didn't we already see the backup server?" the Boss interrupts the PFY.

"Yes, we saw the backup server, but this is the backup backup server. We have to have a backup to the backup server because how would you recover your data if the backup server was down? You'd still want to recover your data wouldn't you?"

"Uh yes, I suppose so." the Boss says, not wanting to appear ignorant.

Too late.

"So we have a backup backup server. It's important. So important that we also have a backup backup backup server."

"Uh-huh" the boss says, numbly.

"Anyway," the PFY says, taking the Boss around the back of a row of racks "Let's take a look at all the backend servers..."

The PFY then proceeds to introduce the Boss to the rear end of all the servers he's just shown him, pretending that they're the backend servers.

The Boss is so mentally taxed now that he's just nodding at NIC lights blankly.

"However, this is the one we're commissioning now," the PFY says, pointing into an empty rack. "This baby will do 14 teragigaflops with complete write cached redundant backflow prevention with a combination 2 tetracyclene octacore CPU and quadruply redundant DDR8 RAM. Sure, it's taken a hell of lot of a time to commission, but once it's up and running we'll be able to replace that entire row of backup servers."

"Really?" the Boss says, excited by the prospect of savings. "Where's the machine?"

"I.. In there" the PFY says, faking confusion and pointing at some empty space.

"I don't see anything!"

"Well you wouldn't would you - it's virtual!"

"Yes, but there's still a..." the Boss says, losing faith in his technical acumen halfway through.

"Oh you thought we were using old-style PHYSICAL hardware?" the PFY says "But surely you know that clunky old servers cost almost nothing now, whilst the state of the art stuff is all super-small and super-expensive?"

"Uh... yes."

"Well this virtual server is so small it can't even be seen!"

"... ... Yes, but there's still an actual MACHINE underneath it all, surely?" the Boss asks.

"No. That's what virtual means! The system exists virtually. I mean we wouldn't have spent 30k on nothing! ... Would we?" the PFY bluffs.

And now the Boss is really starting to get uneasy...

"But there still must be some sort of machine, surely?" he asks nervously, thinking of the audit meeting he might be attending in the near future...

"Only on the old models."

"OKAY," the Boss says, preparing to lose his rag. "You're telling me we paid 30K for what is essentially an empty rack?"

"Yes. An 'empty rack' as you call it - but with 14 teragigaflops, backflow prevention and 2 tetracylene octacore!"

"You're just making that SH*T up!" the Boss snaps. "Now I want to see, RIGHT NOW, what the F*** we just spent 30 GRAND ON?!"

"You can't though. It's virtual."

"DON'T GIVE ME THAT SH**! I WANT TO SEE A BLOODY MACHINE!"

"Like I said, it's virtual."

"AND HOW THE HELL WOULD I EXPLAIN THAT TO OUR AUDITORS?! THEY WON'T TAKE THIS CRAP!"

"Sure they will. You'll bring them down here, I'll take them on a tour, show them some stuff, and the problems will just go away like magic."

"SHOW THEM WHAT?"

"Just some stuff."

"WELL HOW ABOUT YOU SHOW ME 'SOME STUFF'?!"

"Uh, ok. I'll just step outside for a moment."

>Ca-Click<

Sigh.

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