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Tales from the Racks- Calling all Sysadmins!

Hello All!

I'm trying to gather some awesome Sysadmin stories for a blog post- and would love to hear yours!

Do you have any particularly impressive tales of valor? Ever used your magic to get out of a particularly sticky situation? Saved the day JUST in the nick of time?

Don't be shy, toot your horn and tell your tales...
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Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

Jim Dettman (EE MVE)2016-07-28 05:02 AMID: 1926475
I pretty much agree with serialband's take.  But I will say that even despite best efforts and having good knowledge, systems have gotten so complex that there are still valid hero stories.   One where good critical thinking and problem solving (maybe even the use of EE ;) ) pays off and a problem is resolved quickly.

 I will say though that I love asking "Any problems?" and getting a response of "no", to which I say  "Great, I've done my job then".


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Jaime Lewis2016-07-28 07:43 AMID: 1926489
That's a good one, Mohammed! What a nightmare!

Thank you, serialbrand, for your perspective as well.

Joe, what a great "how we met" story! Thanks for sharing
Rank: Genius

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Brian B2016-07-28 07:45 AMID: 1926490
Working for an IT services company, I was called in to look after a client. The client had a Novell 5.5 server that had blown a drive controller. To top it off they were using Notes. Not that there is anything wrong with Notes, but in trying to find out more about it, another Notes expert referred to this version as follows: "Windows ME was for Microsoft what this version of Notes was for IBM). I can't remember the whole reasoning, but we couldn't get their notes back online without getting their Novell environment going again.

First step was setting them up in a new AD environment with outsourced email. That was easy, but I still had to get their old files and Notes back.

At least they had a tape backup of their files. Server was too old to find replacement parts though. So first had to find a machine that was on the compatibility list. Next challenge was the only Novell install media they had was an upgrade, so wouldn't install by itself. Spent quite a lot of time finding some compatible hardware and Novell install media.

The biggest frustration was listening to the other office employees talking to each other and even telling their customers about how they couldn't do anything, or had to do things manually, despite me taking the time to update most of their processes to the new systems.

All the time the nervous owner of the company was watching how things were going. In the end we got everything running again, but just barely. Long enough to get files restored and keep the notes database up long enough that things could be transferred out. Then they sold the building and moved, but that's another story.
Rank: Savant

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Ray Paseur2016-08-04 07:01 AMID: 1927579
This whole thread reminds me of the conversation between the Captain and the Corporal.

Captain: "Corporal, I didn't see you in camouflage practice this morning!"

Corporal: "Sir, Thank you, sir!"
Rank: Genius

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Nick672016-08-04 11:02 AMID: 1927725
I guess only outside consultants should really have the tales of valor that you're talking about.
Yes, but then there's LOTS of them.

Fountain Tire is an arm of Goodyear.  What Dayton, Ohio says, goes.
Dayton says "Don't mess with your server.  It will run your whole system just fine, if you don't mess with it."
So, they had some training material on CD that they sent to the location, and the CD-ROM drive on the server wasn't working.
I get sent to replace it.
It's in a back room of the tire shop.
Connected to the shop.
With an open door.
Nobody had touched the server in NINE years.
There was a nice patch of the floor, three feet around the server that hadn't been mopped, vaccumed, or swept in NINE years.
"Don't mess with the server"

I opened the case.
The dust inside was piled higher than the capacitors.
Brought it out into the service bay and asked to borrow the compressed air blower.
"Why, what do you need the blower for?"
"You'll see."
Actually they didn't.  You couldn't see across the shop, in fact.
Everybody took a half-hour coffee break about 25 seconds after I started blowing the unit out.
Rank: Genius

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Nick672016-08-04 11:13 AMID: 1927730
Q.  What's the difference between a computer and a vacuum cleaner?
A.  A vaccum cleaner has a bag.

So, I get sent out on a Dell warranty call to replace a modem to this guy's house.
A trailer, in fact.
The guy, his three friendly cats and two dogs met me at the door.
The trailer has lovely green shag rug.
I asked the fellow where his computer was.
He pointed, I saw the unit, and I asked him if he had a vacuum cleaner I could use.
"What the hell does the computer guy need a vacuum cleaner for?"
"May I please?"
"Sure buddy, why not"
So when I pulled the front bezel off the computer -- which was sitting on the carpet -- it was completely full of hair and green fuzz, but the owner didn't see that.  I vacuumed that all up.
The sound of the vacuum aroused the guy's curiosity, so he was looking over my shoulder was when I opened case.
He went outside and vomitted, and afterward took my advice and put the tower on the desk, not under it.

Bag, no bag, that's the difference!