Back in early 2000, Clint interviewed for a position as a software developer for a mid-sized engineering company of about 200-plus people somewhere in the deserts of Kerblekistan, located in very close proximity to the Elbonian mud fields. Everyone there, especially the women, was used to living in harsh conditions, and had grown extremely rugged as a result. The Kerblekistanis and Elbonians had been enjoying an uneasy peace, but kept a wary eye out for less-than-peaceful activities...

During the interview, the development team was ready to hire him when one of the bosses burst into the room and interrupted the interview to introduce himself. When he discovered that Clint had an IT background, he became very excited. They temporarily needed a network administrator until they could hire someone permanently, so for the first three months, Clint was assigned to be a network admin.

To further complicate things, the team was moving to a new office. Two new network administrators were hired, one of which Clint had worked with elsewhere. Since both had extensive experience in managing office moves, they were given the task of continuing to coordinate that, while Clint maintained the day to day network tasks. Since the new guys would ultimately be running the network, he gave them the luxury of modifying some of the plans to suit themselves.

A few weeks before the move when it was time to get the communications set up, there arose a heated debate between the two admins about where to set up the servers.

The new office had two floors. On the lower floor, a receptionist who was built like a tank and could have single handedly replaced the Pittsburgh Steel Curtain, sat directly in front of the main entrance. She was the secretary, receptionist and security. Right behind her was a large air conditioned area where power and communications came into the building. Directly above this room was a small office without any special A/C, power or communications set-ups, which was to be the administrators' office. Before the two admins were hired, Clint had placed several server racks in the big room downstairs.

Both new admins had installed the racks, but new admin B was not happy; he wanted the server racks to be installed in the small room on the second floor (the new IT office). Admin A wanted them left downstairs where they were already located because the small office upstairs was barely big enough for two people, let alone several racks of noisy servers, plus A/C that would have to be added.

  Admin-B: We can't have these racks downstairs; what if the Elbonians attack 
           through the front door?
  Admin-A: The receptionist is in front of the door, and nobody gets 
           past her without a pass!
  Admin-B: These racks need to be upstairs; this way if the server room is 
           destroyed, they'll be safe - with us
  Admin-A: If the room downstairs blows up, what makes you think we will survive 
           directly above it? Besides, how much damage can a wad of mud really do?
  Admin-B: But they've been ramping up their weapons and supplies; we need to be ready!
  ...

The debate was still raging when Clint arrived at the new office with two owners of the company (one Elbonian, one Kerblekistani) in tow, to check on things. Neither admin noticed Clint or the owners walk in.

  Admin A: There is no security issue. These doors are solid and they lock!
           The servers are not going to be any more secure on the second floor.
  Admin B: (sounding like a belligerent child)
           Yes, but those doors are not bazooka-proof. The owners are Elbonian 
           and Kerblekistani - you never know what might happen!

Rather than take offence, both owners decided to have some fun with the situation...

  Owner E: Our mud-bombs could certainly penetrate this door!
  Owner K: Perhaps, but you'll never get them past my secretary - 
           Nothing gets past her - NOTHING!
  Admin A: Um, what the f...?!
  Admin B: Now do you see why we need to keep these servers upstairs?
  Owner E: I am positive our new Mud-a-Pult™ has both the range and 
           power to penetrate the upstairs office
  Owner K: Then I suppose I'll have to call up the reserves from the office pool
           to back up my secretary
  Admin B: (sounding significantly less belligerent)
           W..W..Wait - are you serious?

As the owners wandered away while pretending to still argue, Clint brokered a compromise where only the rack with the more important mission-critical servers was to be located in the upstairs office, safe from the mud-people. The other servers would stay in the server room, protected by the locked door, and the receptionist, who thankfully would never know that she was the first line of defense.

 

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