Flashback Friday: Power play

The painful road to get what you need.

This division of a paycheck company has 180 users working in a converted warehouse with very dirty power, says a net admin pilot fish working there.

“Our IT budget allowed most of the things we needed — except a UPS for the server room,” fish says. “After carefully studying the electrical requirements, I came up with what seemed to be the best and most cost-effective solution: a UPS unit costing $12,000.”

By fish’s calculation, the new UPS will handle all the site’s current needs and allow for plenty of growth. And he’s pretty pleased that he has solved the problem.

Fish sets up a meeting with the division bean counter and gives him the full pitch in glorious detail: what the site has, what it needs, how much it will cost and — most important — that this will eliminate the power issues the site regularly suffers from.

Bean counter listens to fish’s presentation, then asks, “So how much does it actually cost us to be down for a couple of hours?”

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Apparently, fish’s answer isn’t satisfactory. His request for the new UPS is denied. Reason: It’s unnecessary.

“Three months later, we lost power to the building when an accident took out a power transformer,” says fish. “The resultant surges took out a $3,500 riser card in my main network switch.

“I took the now-dead card into the bean counter’s office, set it on his desk and said, ‘OK, we’ve just spent a quarter of the cost of the UPS and we’re no closer to having it than we were. Can I have my UPS now?’

“My purchase request was approved.”

Sharky’s request is that you send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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