Shark Tank: Power sharing

Power-Sharing Arrangement

The boss needs a power supply for his PC's speakers -- and unfortunately for this pilot fish, there aren't any to spare. "So I 'liberated' Mark's speaker power supply," says fish. "This happened when Mark was out of the office and I neglected to say anything. A couple of months later, Mark said, 'My sound doesn't work on my computer.' By the time I got to check it out, both Mark and Wayne were out of the office, so I borrowed Wayne's power supply and connected it to Mark's speakers. Another few months went by, and Wayne told me, 'The sound doesn't work on my computer.' So I swapped the power supply back from Mark's PC. I continued this for almost a year, until Wayne retired."

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Impossible, Huh?

It's 5 a.m. when this IT pilot fish gets a call from the data center: The system drives have lost half their power supply. "As everything has redundant power supply, I notify the boss and say I'll have the vendor in at 8 a.m.," fish says. "The boss, vendor rep, facilities manager and I all meet at 8 a.m. to investigate what has happened. After I pull a few tiles, it's apparent that the twist-lock plug was yanked out of the socket when new cables were run under the floor. The facilities manager says, 'It's not possible for the cables to yank the plugs out,' and proceeds to grab one of the plugs and shake it. Unfortunately, it was the other half of the power supply, and it, too, had been loosened by the cable pulls. It fell out, bringing down the system completely. After that, the facilities people were told to keep their hands off the hardware and let the vendors make the mistakes."

Where'd He Go?

It's 4:00 p.m. on a Friday when this small IT group starts its HR software upgrade, with conference-call help from an analyst provided by the vendor. It looks like things are going fine, so 10 minutes into the process the analyst explains he has to drop off the call briefly for a meeting with his supervisor. "At 4:30, his supervisor called me," reports a pilot fish on the team. "He informed us that our analyst was 'no longer with the company.' I asked who would be working on our conversion. He said, 'We will have to assign someone to that early next week.' My response: 'But the conversion is running now!' " Supervisor promises to find someone immediately, but fish can do the time-zone math -- the vendor's staff has left for the weekend. "The conversion did error out, and the vendor didn't assign anyone until Monday," sighs fish. "We now, only half jokingly, ask every vendor's analyst if there is any possibility his employment might be cut short for performance reasons."

Don't forget to check out the Sharkives for more dispatches from the front lines of IT.

Read more about data center in Computerworld's Data Center Topic Center.

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