As the last deployment script ran to completion, Michael sat back in his chair and let out a small sigh of relief.

He knew nothing could go wrong. After all, he'd rehearsed every step of the process hundreds of times during the last six months. But deploying his projects to production always made him as nervous as a highschooler before a drama club premiere.

However, the rollout was nearly complete, and Initech's Hyderabad branch was all set up and ready to enjoy their new, polished and improved inventory management system. All that was left was to log into the application for the last sanity check and celebrate the success with his team.

Michael opened the browser, typed in the server address and hit Enter, expecting to see the familiar portal.

Instead, a standard, white-and-red ASP.NET error page stared back at him.

A few minutes of digging around the Hyderabad servers exposed the problem. While all the local applications were configured to use Windows logins to connect to the database, the overseas branch used simple SQL Server authentication with a constant login and password. After a bit of back and forth, Michael was armed with contact information to Hyderabad's database administrator, and set off to resolve the issue.

Hi, it's Michael from Initech Seattle, he typed into his Lync window. Can I get a database username and password for the inventory management application?

A few minutes later, the reply arrived. Expecting just the username and password, Michael was ready to say thanks and get back to fixing his problem ... but the DBA had a different idea.

Sure, just check the Notepad on the server.

You mean a text file? Michael responded, somewhat confused.

Yes, it's open now, just check your screen.

Michael went through all his open Remote Desktop sessions, but none of them had a single text file open. The only programs running were the ones he'd started himself.

I don't see it, can you tell me the filename and the directory? He decided to play along. After all, maybe there was some security-related reason why the DBA couldn't send the credentials over IM.

It's in the Notepad, the DBA responded. Just check it.

No, it's not! Michael was growing a bit irritated. He took the screenshots of both the database and application servers' desktops and attached them to the message, hoping that would finally convince the DBA he wasn't going crazy.

After a long while, the DBA finally wrote back. You're on Remote Desktop. That's different. Can you just use TeamViewer?

"Are you serious?" Michael asked out loud, but the will to resolve the issue as soon as possible overcame the urge to chew out the clueless administrator. He downloaded the software, sat through the installation process, then typed in the TeamViewer ID.

A connection could not be established.

"Of course," Michael muttered.

A quick call to system administrators confirmed Michael's fears: the company firewall blocked all TeamViewer connections. Gaining access meant submitting an exemption request and letting the bureaucracy take its time to process it. The process usually required several days, and the rollout couldn't wait that long.

Facing a dead end, he tried to explain the situation to the DBA.

I can't get on TeamViewer. Can you please just tell me the username and password for the SQL Server? It would really save us a lot of time!!

He sat back in his chair and waited, eyes glued to the IM window. His hopes weren't high, but maybe he'd at least get an excuse to present to his boss.

Instead, the reply came:

Username: dba, password: rosebud. Let me know if I can be of any further help.

It was all Michael could do not to slam his head against his desk. After careful consideration, he decided to pass on the DBA's kind offer.