November 21, 2007 9:27 AM EST
It's years ago, and this data center customer is already having trouble with its Microsoft Exchange server, which is at its database limit, says an IT engineer pilot fish on the scene.

"They started working on purchasing a new version that allowed a larger database, along with a new server to hold it all," fish says.

"Unfortunately -- for them, anyway -- the project blew up when their Active Directory stuff wasn't up to the task, so we had to rebuild multiple machines."

And that's an opportunity to improve some things. For one, there's no naming convention: Servers have names ranging from "TAA984JAK" to "Dave" and "Kitty." Customer accepts fish's recommendation to rename them after their roles or the software they run.

The company's initials are THS, so the rebuilt servers get names such as THSad1 and THSad2. That makes it easier to find the right server when browsing the network.

But the day after the new e-mail server goes live, fish's own in-box is flooded -- and all the messages ask the same question.

"The users' mail clients announced the new server name in a pop-up before allowing them to connect," says fish. "In came the wave of e-mails asking why the new server was named 'the sex change.'

"We had a short panic thinking we'd typoed the machine name and were going to be fired before someone noticed the name in an included screen capture: THSEXCHANGE.

"It seems your brain just wants to add that extra 'E.'

"Interestingly, they got used to it real quick -- all but a few thought it was really funny. And they were so sick of their e-mail being down that they never let us fix it. As far as I know, it's still named that."

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