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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Server Room Tragedy: #1

A TA informs the Server Room about a lab exam to be conducted on Wed morning. He asks for accounts for 100 students.

Mr JP, the one who had been informed on Mon, forwarded, as is his custom, the work to one of the new staffs. He asked him to create the accounts MANUALLY. 100 accounts manually -- it took a whole day. He does it. But the TA is not informed. The TA was left to guess the system IP, the 100 user names, and the 100 passwords. Besides, the server room is clueless about the whether the teaching lab (the exam spot) is intact and working or not.

Wed: (Lab Exam day)
The TA inquires in the Server Room at 9:00. The exam was at 9:30. Only Mr Madhu is present (he wasn't there in this loop). Dr Anoop would be angry if things don't work out. Oblivious, he begins the damage-control mode, the only mode in which the Server Room ever works, whenever that is. A machine is handed over to the TA and he is asked then to create accounts, etc. Mr Madhu finds a script that was used earlier for this job, and the TA then creates the account, all accounts on the same system. Naturally, no quota, process limits, mem limits, etc were placed. The server froze several times during the exam.

Points worth nothing:
The server room, the place supposed to be the mecca of technical efficacy, creates 100 accounts manually. And the TA isn't even informed.
At the last moment, the TA is handed the server and is expected to feel at ease with it -- i.e. he is asked to manage the needful.

Expected Questions / FAQs

1. What's the hue-cry? What's your point?
Ans: Simple. The server room is not in a position to manage itself. Doing away with new student sysadmins is suicidal.

2. When do you expect the Server Room staff to get efficient?
Ans: Never

3. Why did you title this post as #1?
Ans: Things like this is just the beginning. More such exemplary activities happen every day. I'll post the next one as #2.

4. Such examples are called case-studies. I took SE, so I know.
Ans: I don't care what it is called. I took SE, but still I don't know, and happily so.
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