Comment On The Frankenserver

"Hey Ryan! Glad I got ahold of you, have a minute to lend a hand?" spoke a surprisingly jovial voice on the other end on the NOC’s emergency support "bat phone". It was the company's email admin, Jeff. [expand full text]
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Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 06:47 • by ParkinT
"...Team Player"
Oh, I get it!!!

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 08:07 • by Cbuttius
Ok, "November Spawned A Monster"...

but really this article is one day late.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 08:13 • by Unicorn #8157 (unregistered)
Best. Job. Ever.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 08:17 • by Kooblie (unregistered)
NOC... server farm... data center... Rack N... row 1... the main doors to the server room... cooling system
Wait a second! An outfit this size has to beg for one extra IP address "for testing"?

And if everybody up to "the executive director" is in on the secret, who are they hiding it from?

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 08:21 • by Sarten X (unregistered)
TRWTF is the server's management. The server should have been clearly labeled "special project hosting", and had proper documentation saying that is was used for "low-priority management-approved personal projects across various departments", with a note that the hardware budget for such low-priority projects is always $0, so all upgrades must be from old parts.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 08:30 • by A Luser (unregistered)
I have a running gag with our IT department concerning a non-existent (to my knowledge anyway) "IT gaming server". This imaginary server is (of course) the most powerful one in the building. Every time any large boxes show up for IT, it's the "new processor blades for the IT Gaming Server", and every time large new wall mount displays show up, they're for the "IT Gaming Room" (also non-existent).

Now, I have proof.

Seriously, though, our IT guys are the best, most helpful folks I've ever worked with, and I'd totally support a gaming server for them...if I got to use it :-)

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 08:39 • by Abico (unregistered)
After yesterday's debacle, I don't think I'm going to read an article here anymore unless it's nothing but code.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 08:40 • by the beholder (unregistered)
393954 in reply to 393945
Unicorn #8157:
Best. Job. Ever.
I agree. The real WTF in this story is that this isn't more common throughout the industry.

Although I can think of dozens better games to outfit a game server with than Counter Strike. Maybe this story was from when it was comparatively a far better choice than it is today.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 08:54 • by Jack (unregistered)
For quite a while at work, we had a Universal Tester server.


.. until it's PSU blew up :(

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 08:59 • by Abico (unregistered)
393956 in reply to 393954
the beholder:
Unicorn #8157:
Best. Job. Ever.
I agree. The real WTF in this story is that this isn't more common throughout the industry.

Yeahhhh, that's it. Uncommon. That's what it is......

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 09:05 • by the beholder (unregistered)
393957 in reply to 393956
Abico:
the beholder:
Unicorn #8157:
Best. Job. Ever.
I agree. The real WTF in this story is that this isn't more common throughout the industry.

Yeahhhh, that's it. Uncommon. That's what it is......
I never said it is uncommon, just not as common as it could be

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 09:12 • by Mcoder
393958 in reply to 393946
Kooblie:
And if everybody up to "the executive director" is in on the secret, who are they hiding it from?


Underlings.

Somebody has to work, otherwise the company'll fail.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 09:22 • by ObiWayneKenobi
Sounds awesome. I agree it's a shame too many places are so stuck up as to not understand that your IT staff usually has some period of downtime, and they need something to do during that downtime that isn't "more work".

I've even heard legends of development teams that played MMORPGs when they had finished projects and had nothing major going on.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 09:23 • by Freddy Bob (unregistered)
"Simulations and Training"

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 09:43 • by Anonymous (unregistered)
Whew. For a while there, I was afraid they were using it for email or something!

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 09:50 • by Kidd (unregistered)
You are not really a NOC until you have a game server.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 09:57 • by Mike (unregistered)
TRWTF is CounterStrike

Captcha suggests populus!

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 10:04 • by Wyte (unregistered)
Makes me feel good about our company's testing rack that has a server clearly labeled "Minecraft" on the front.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 10:07 • by Cbuttius
I have noticed something else about this site that has changed - for the better in my opinion.

Although we are now in November I can still see the last few October articles on the main page.

I think it was a WTF to cut off like that before. It's ok in the archives, but the main page should always display a few articles.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 10:21 • by Abico (unregistered)
393968 in reply to 393957
the beholder:
Abico:
the beholder:
Unicorn #8157:
Best. Job. Ever.
I agree. The real WTF in this story is that this isn't more common throughout the industry.

Yeahhhh, that's it. Uncommon. That's what it is......
I never said it is uncommon, just not as common as it could be

And I'm saying, just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not more common than you think.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 10:24 • by Gary (unregistered)
Reminds me of two stories from my old job:

(1) "Kumar's cube" which had a network connection outside of the firewall. An old box was plugged into it. That box ran the company's (marketing) website. And this was a $600 million company with 4,000+ employees. One of its major lines of business was in application hosting!

(2) One employee of said application hosting business used one of the servers for his sideline - as it turns out, a porn site. I wish he had used Kumar's cube...

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 10:33 • by Recursive Reclusive (unregistered)
393970 in reply to 393959
ObiWayneKenobi:
Sounds awesome. I agree it's a shame too many places are so stuck up as to not understand that your IT staff usually has some period of downtime, and they need something to do during that downtime that isn't "more work".


As I read it, the other staff was playing from home.

Comment deletion is getting a bit out hand here. I made a comment earlier, not offensive, not spam, not "frist", but a (IMHO) humorous jab at a type in the article. Now it has been deleted and the typo corrected.

**From Mark** IMHO, I see "typo alert" as being more of an FYI rather than an actual discourse. Not spam, not offensive at all (I admit - I can't grammar at times which is why I ask Alex/Remy to read my stuff, but hey, things get missed in the 900+ word range) and believe me, I appreciate the heads' up...it just, to me, was a quick note unrelated to the main thread, hence moderation.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 10:48 • by anonymous (unregistered)
TRWTF is that the submitter's company refers to rack position 1 as "row 1". Don't they have multiple rows of racks?

TRRWTF is that the submitter's company calls the top position of the rack position 1. Don't they load the rack from the bottom up?

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 10:50 • by phuzz (unregistered)
I used to work at a company that built PCs (and laptops and servers). In the corner, near the server build team were the guys who created the installs for the machines we built, and for some reason, they had their own ADSL connection for 'testing'.
With a bit of sweet talking we got them to drop us an ethernet cable connected to said connection, and finding enough spare parts to create a spare computer is pretty easy when you're just next to a warehouse full of parts, with a slack inventory system.

That little web connection stopped me from going mad from boredom for many a week.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 11:13 • by Mark Bowytz
393974 in reply to 393972
anonymous:
TRWTF is that the submitter's company refers to rack position 1 as "row 1". Don't they have multiple rows of racks?

TRRWTF is that the submitter's company calls the top position of the rack position 1. Don't they load the rack from the bottom up?


Funny you mention - I thought the same and asked for clarification/confirmation - nope, that's how it was.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 11:13 • by eVil (unregistered)
393975 in reply to 393968
Abico:
the beholder:
Abico:
the beholder:
Unicorn #8157:
Best. Job. Ever.
I agree. The real WTF in this story is that this isn't more common throughout the industry.

Yeahhhh, that's it. Uncommon. That's what it is......
I never said it is uncommon, just not as common as it could be

And I'm saying, just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not more common than you think.


And I keep telling you, you fly boys crack me up!

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 11:16 • by Floozy (unregistered)
Uhh... either its extremely common to have a jeff and ryan in those exact same positions and have a similar setup... or this was from my company!

Though its probably coincidence...

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 11:17 • by DJ (unregistered)
393979 in reply to 393955
Ahh Unreal Tournament , those were the days.. Hope they bring out a new one soon.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 11:19 • by Lafcadio (unregistered)
We had a public game server at a company I worked for. IT management knew about it and tacitly allowed it.

Until the day we banned some script kiddie asshole who turned around and DOSed us and took down network connectivity for our entire research park. Bye-bye server.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 11:29 • by Harrow (unregistered)
393981 in reply to 393959
ObiWayneKenobi:
I've even heard legends of development teams that played MMORPGs when they had finished projects and had nothing major going on.
The pioneer computer games -- Spacewar, Animal, Adventure, Zork, Rogue -- were written by development teams that had finished projects and had nothing major going on.

-Harrow.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 11:33 • by Sebastian Buchanan (unregistered)
Sorry but just because everyone else is in on it doesn't make it right. I would have immediately started looking for another job as well as perhaps making anonymous tip off to the police.

That aside, how did he know it was Jeff on the other-end of the phone? It could have been a hacker impersonating Jeff and getting him to identify where the servers were so that he could create a backdoor into the building.

It has all the elements of social engineering:
-out of the blue call
-someone identifying themselves as an employee who just needs a quick favor
-jovial
-strange request from wrong person
-person doesn't seem to know their way round the server room
-strange box hidden away

Sorry but he should have at the very least demanded the request be sent in email (if he really is the email administrator that shouldn't be a problem), NOT over the phone. Phones are what hackers mainly use. The email woudl need proper authorization through digital signing to make sure it was the actual email administrator. Of course I would have been tempted to demand the admin come round in person (with security pass) for such an odd request.

Note that if the request is fairly ordinary and common there is no problem, it's only odd requests like the above.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 12:03 • by OldCoder (unregistered)
393983 in reply to 393982
Sebastian Buchanan:
Sorry but just because everyone else is in on it doesn't make it right. I would have immediately started looking for another job as well as perhaps making anonymous tip off to the police.

That aside, how did he know it was Jeff on the other-end of the phone? It could have been a hacker impersonating Jeff and getting him to identify where the servers were so that he could create a backdoor into the building.

It has all the elements of social engineering:
-out of the blue call
-someone identifying themselves as an employee who just needs a quick favor
-jovial
-strange request from wrong person
-person doesn't seem to know their way round the server room
-strange box hidden away

Sorry but he should have at the very least demanded the request be sent in email (if he really is the email administrator that shouldn't be a problem), NOT over the phone. Phones are what hackers mainly use. The email woudl need proper authorization through digital signing to make sure it was the actual email administrator. Of course I would have been tempted to demand the admin come round in person (with security pass) for such an odd request.

Note that if the request is fairly ordinary and common there is no problem, it's only odd requests like the above.


Not at all. The caller knew where the rack was, knew what the server was called, knew how to guide Ryan to the rack. He obviously knew all about the box.

Now, he might have been a disgruntled former employee, I grant you that...

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 12:15 • by dkallen (unregistered)
393984 in reply to 393972
anonymous:
TRWTF is that the submitter's company refers to rack position 1 as "row 1". Don't they have multiple rows of racks?

TRRWTF is that the submitter's company calls the top position of the rack position 1. Don't they load the rack from the bottom up?


Don't they start enumerating from 0, like all computer nerds do?

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 12:28 • by Ol' Bob (unregistered)
Y'know, if companies didn't want this sort of thing going on they'd still pay pensions, etc, so people would have a vested interest in making sure that everything hunky was appropriately dory in Corporate IT Land. Instead we get treated like so many temporarily non-displaced personnel or our jobs get shipped off to Bumsquatistan and our salaries off to the executive bonus pool at the drop of a hat. I 'spect this kind of thing happens more than we know...

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 12:34 • by Ol' Bob (unregistered)
393987 in reply to 393969
Gary:
Reminds me of two stories from my old job:

(1) "Kumar's cube" which had a network connection outside of the firewall. An old box was plugged into it. That box ran the company's (marketing) website. And this was a $600 million company with 4,000+ employees. One of its major lines of business was in application hosting!


The cobbler's children have no shoes.

(2) One employee of said application hosting business used one of the servers for his sideline - as it turns out, a porn site. I wish he had used Kumar's cube...

So...I guess Kumar was into that kind of thing..?

(CAPTCHA: tation - "That babe certainly causes me some 'tation!"

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 12:36 • by Calli Arcale (unregistered)
393988 in reply to 393982
Sebastian Buchanan:
Sorry but just because everyone else is in on it doesn't make it right. I would have immediately started looking for another job as well as perhaps making anonymous tip off to the police.


The police? Employees (including executives) building a game server out of spare parts which never leave the property isn't a crime. It may possibly violate workplace ethics, though it depends on the workplace. Basically, it's ultimately between you and the execs, and if they're okay with it, well, there's nothing else to be done. Except look for a job with a more humorless organization.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 12:43 • by Mike (unregistered)
393989 in reply to 393972
So very true. Just like at the gym don't put the weight on the top of the rack until you've loaded the bottom. Otherwise "bad things happen". There has to be a NAS or other type of disk array just looking for a home :)

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 12:55 • by PedanticCurmudgeon
393990 in reply to 393982
Sebastian Buchanan:
pathetic troll attempt
1/10. Would not flame even with someone else's keyboard.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 13:00 • by Sebastian Buchanan (unregistered)
393991 in reply to 393990
PedanticCurmudgeon:
Sebastian Buchanan:
pathetic troll attempt
1/10. Would not flame even with someone else's keyboard.


Wow why don't you just make up what I said? Oh wait, you did. I never said the words you attribute to me and never would. As a rule I don't insult and name-call. Therefore I would never utter the phrase "pathetic troll attempt" even if it fit. If someone WAS being an abusive troll to me I would just ignore them.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 13:05 • by PedanticCurmudgeon
393992 in reply to 393991
Sebastian Buchanan:
If someone WAS being an abusive troll to me I would just ignore them.
I find that highly unlikely. Your not too bright, are you?

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 13:06 • by Sebastian Buchanan (unregistered)
393993 in reply to 393988
[quote user="Calli Arcale"][quote user="Sebastian Buchanan"]Sorry but just because everyone else is in on it doesn't make it right. I would have immediately started looking for another job as well as perhaps making anonymous tip off to the police.[/quote]

The police? Employees (including executives) building a game server out of spare parts which never leave the property isn't a crime.[/QUOTE]

Well it depends what country you are in surely, local laws etc. Anyway like someone else mentioned I was thinking what if the caller was a disgruntled ex-employee and so perhaps the "strange box" is some sort of incendiary device? (okay a bit over the top but you get the idea). The worst part is that if you just follow instructions over the phone there's no record of it and so you become the perpetrator of the crime. Telling the police that some mystery man called you up and told you to activate the bobm is not going to sound very convincing.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 13:32 • by Anonymous Bob (unregistered)
393995 in reply to 393985
You take the pension... I'll take my 401k. I don't want to be locked into a company just so I can keep my retirement. And I don't want to worry about the company imploding like Enron decades down the road.

Ol' Bob:
Y'know, if companies didn't want this sort of thing going on they'd still pay pensions, etc, so people would have a vested interest in making sure that everything hunky was appropriately dory in Corporate IT Land. Instead we get treated like so many temporarily non-displaced personnel or our jobs get shipped off to Bumsquatistan and our salaries off to the executive bonus pool at the drop of a hat. I 'spect this kind of thing happens more than we know...

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 13:38 • by Anonymous Bob (unregistered)
393996 in reply to 393992
PedanticCurmudgeon:
Your not too bright, are you?


I love it when someone makes a grammatical mistake when saying someone else isn't too bright. Karma's a bitch.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 13:48 • by F (unregistered)
394000 in reply to 393993
Sebastian Buchanan:

...
Telling the police that some mystery man called you up and told you to activate the bobm is not going to sound very convincing.


Even if you can pronounce it.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 13:49 • by PedanticCurmudgeon
394001 in reply to 393996
Anonymous Bob:
PedanticCurmudgeon:
Your not too bright, are you?


I love it when someone makes a grammatical mistake when saying someone else isn't too bright. Karma's a bitch.

You must be new here.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 13:49 • by F (unregistered)
394002 in reply to 393996
Anonymous Bob:
PedanticCurmudgeon:
Your not too bright, are you?


I love it when someone makes a grammatical mistake when saying someone else isn't too bright. Karma's a bitch.



Muphry's Law, it's called.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 13:50 • by the beholder (unregistered)
394003 in reply to 393992
PedanticCurmudgeon:
Sebastian Buchanan:
If someone WAS being an abusive troll to me I would just ignore them.
I find that highly unlikely. Your not too bright, are you?
+1. It's funny watching awful trolls trying to justify crappy attempts at trolling. I found the "bomb" excuse particularly humorous.

Anonymous Bob:
I love it when someone makes a grammatical mistake when saying someone else isn't too bright. Karma's a bitch.
You're new here, aren't you? Maybe you should google for that phrase spelled that way on TDWTF.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 14:07 • by Nemo (unregistered)
394005 in reply to 394002
F:
Anonymous Bob:
PedanticCurmudgeon:
Your not too bright, are you?


I love it when someone makes a grammatical mistake when saying someone else isn't too bright. Karma's a bitch.



Muphry's Law, it's called.


Actually, it's pronounced "whoosh!"

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 14:08 • by A Luser (unregistered)
394006 in reply to 393981
Harrow:
ObiWayneKenobi:
I've even heard legends of development teams that played MMORPGs when they had finished projects and had nothing major going on.
The pioneer computer games -- Spacewar, Animal, Adventure, Zork, Rogue -- were written by development teams that had finished projects and had nothing major going on.

-Harrow.


When I was at Data General in the early 90s we had xnetrek wars using up most of the bandwidth on the engineering (yellow cable) Ethernet.

Re: The Frankenserver

2012-11-01 14:13 • by A Luser (unregistered)
394007 in reply to 393946
Kooblie:
NOC... server farm... data center... Rack N... row 1... the main doors to the server room... cooling system
Wait a second! An outfit this size has to beg for one extra IP address "for testing"?

And if everybody up to "the executive director" is in on the secret, who are they hiding it from?


There's always one guy in any organization, with a stick up his...who wants to ruin it for everyone. Why give him the opportunity?
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