Alan's company recently landed a small contract (ten hours per month) to manage and administer the network at an insurance agency. The previous company -- well, actually, guy -- worked full-time as a network administrator at the local university and had been servicing the agency for the past ten years in his spare time. An out-of-state job offer left him no longer able to service the agency.

A couple weeks before the contract started, Alan received a frantic call from the insurance agency: the system was completely down and Ishmael (let's call him) had already relocated a few time zones away. Within the hour, Alan was on-site, receiving a crash-course in their system. He learned that no system meant no quoting and no servicing and that was not good because it meant no business.

Alan also received a crash course in their network. It was a mangled patchwork of DOS-based file servers (yes, in 2006), daisy-chained routers, and workstations with multiple network cards cross-patched to each other. Per Ishmael's "in case of emergency" instructions, the office manager rebooted the servers, routers, and workstations several times to no avail.

The good news was that Alan was able to quickly identify the problem: the floppy disk used to boot up the system's file server was corrupt. The bad news was that the boot disc contained a several-hundred line AUTOEXEC.BAT script whose only backup was a two-year-old printout.

To get the agency up and running, Alan pulled the hard drive and moved it to another file server. For some reason, the workstations didn't map the share. In fact, Alan couldn't even connect to the sever manually. He couldn't even *ping* the server by name or IP address. Yet, both had access to the Internet.

As Alan was struggling with this, Ishmael had finally called back. He was a bit offended that Alan had pulled the hard drive and said that the AUTOEXEC file was easy to build. No matter, Alan expressed his most recent problem, that he couldn't ping the server from the workstation.

"Well," Ishmael replied in a condescending tone, "of course not!"

"Why not?" Alan asked.

Ishmael explained, "because it's a local network."

"Errr," Alan stuttered, huh?"

"You can't ping on a local network," Ishmael quipped, clearly annoyed, "didn't you know that?"

"Uhhh," Alan replied, baffled, "excuse me?"

"Ping doesn't work on a local network," Ishmael said, “that's what the Internet is for!"

At that point, Alan figured that he was pretty much on his own. He confirmed that the servers and workstation did, in fact, communicate with each other over the Internet. All he needed to do was open up the newly created share (like it had on the DOS server) to the Internet so that the workstations could communicate with it. Thankfully, after explaining the situation to the owner, he was given a bit more than ten hours/month to fix and secure the network.

[Advertisement] BuildMaster allows you to create a self-service release management platform that allows different teams to manage their applications. Explore how!