Everybody has storage problems, but you can always find room on your hard drive for these funny anecdotes collected from the IT front lines by our staff.
Users at this hospital each get a directory on a file server, mapped to the I: drive. When this IT pilot fish notices during a routine audit that one user's I: drive has gotten very big, he investigates and finds it contains several hundred megabytes of games -- a major no-no.
User's explanation? "I just got this computer a few months ago, and the games were on it when I got it!"
Sighs fish, "She's still having trouble grasping the concept of a network drive."
That other school in Cambridge teaches math, too
At this printing business, IT has lagged in the past. But now it's coming on strong, says a pilot fish working there.
"So the company hires a 'manager's manager' who can't even turn on any of the workstations," fish grumbles. "Management brags about her pedigree and training, and she drops the Harvard name every chance she gets. I think she went to a seminar there."
But fish isn't impressed, especially when his new boss is arguing for a network-based backup system the company is evaluating on loan from the vendor.
The servers have 4TB of storage that must be backed up. "I point out that the network's a moot point," he says. "The RAID the data is on is pretty old, and will only spin at about 12MB/sec. Backup is going to take a lot longer than overnight at those speeds.
"I'm told I am being difficult, and shouldn't act so negatively toward proposals from this vendor."
So fish is elbowed out of the backup evaluation, and his boss decides to get it working herself. "Harvard spends five days on the phone with the vendor's tech, trying to remotely troubleshoot the problem," says fish.
"Finally she gets a backup started. After it's working for a couple hours, she comes in and points to the monitor and boasts in that I-told-you-so voice, 'See, it's working. 700MB/minute!'
"I politely wait for her to do the math. Then when it's obvious there's no intention to, I say, 'Yup ... or about 11 to 12MB/sec., right?'
"After 15 seconds of staring into space blinking, she leaves the room without saying a word."
What a Concept!
After user's hard drive is replaced, she remembers a file that wasn't transferred to the new disk -- and it has information she needs.
"She knew the old one went to a storage room full of drives," says a pilot fish on the scene. "But when she asked us to retrieve it, we did so in a few moments."
Amazed user: How did you find my old drive so quickly in that hard-disk graveyard?
Fish: "We put your name on it."
What could possibly be hard about managing IT?
There's downsizing. And departmental restructuring. And when the dust settles, this small company's IT team is lumped in with the operations department, and in charge are two managers who have never run an IT staff, says an IT pilot fish on the scene.
"However, they deem themselves outstanding managers and feel managing IT is easier than managing operations," fish says.
But he has more pressing problems to worry about: The company's mail and file servers are running out of storage. So he asks his new bosses for permission to attend a computer storage trade show in a nearby town. It won't cost anything but a little time, and fish and his fellow admin will be able to collect information from all the disk and tape vendors at once.
Fish's new boss responds by e-mail: "To be honest, both your time would be better spent on other, more important stuff, bearing in mind the storage of our excess computers is not a big issue at the moment and I don't envisage it becoming an issue for a long time."
No, thinks fish, not that kind of computer storage. "He thought the recently vacated offices would provide ample storage for all the extra computers previously used by the redundant staff," says fish. "It seems he wished to prevent his newly acquired IT staff from exploring cupboard or Tupperware options."
But it's an easy mistake for someone new to IT-shop jargon to make. So fish begins drafting an e-mail response to clear up the confusion: "Boss, we meant computer storage, not storage for computers" -- when his boss's boss, the department head, passes by and notices what fish is doing.
"When your supervisor says no, he means no," department head tells fish. "Stop writing that e-mail and focus on more important things."
"She then walks off, leaving me to pick my jaw up off the ground and find something more important than an impending server crash," fish says.
"I update my resume and resign the following week. The mail server crashes two weeks after I leave.
"Why? Storage problem."