December 18, 2001
Keep Your Monkeys Away
We in the IT business have a highly technical term for people who deal mainly with hardware. We call them "monkeys." That's because their jobs usually involve running cable, putting servers into racks, or replacing hardware. These people are not to be trusted with anything actually complicated like the software on these systems, or actual networking configurations. Today I was reminded why.
We have a lot of servers where I work, and some are more important than others. The most important server we have, with all the financial information for the entire company, had a disk failure today. That in and of itself was not a disaster because there were mirrors in place to keep the system and all its files available. Great. But because it was an important server and we needed to get the redundancy back into place, I called Sun to have them send an engineer out to give me a hand with it. I can replace a hard disk, but with this system, and some of the software running on it controlling the disks, I wanted to be sure everything was done correctly.
The good news is that I got the part after an hour, and the Sun engineers showed up an hour after that. That's a great response time (which we pay plenty for, by the way). One guy seemed to be very confident. The other guy I don't think had ever actually seen a Sun server. I took them up to the server to have a look, and had to tell Confident Guy a thing or two about what was going on. He no longer looked so confident (and he typed by pecking with 2 fingers, which makes me distrust people who are supposed to know things about computers). Before he could do anything seriously bad to the server, his supervisor showed up. This was Mr. Smooth, who really did know it all, and proceeded to help his monkey helpers out by telling them what to type. Mr Smooth told me, after it was all over, that I wouldn't need to do anything more (of which I'm not convinced, but until tomorrow I'll give him the benefit of the doubt) but he certainly knew enough that to me, he's not a monkey. He's an actual Engineer.
So from now on, I'm going to start requesting Mr. Smooth, the one who actually knows things, and I'm going to tell Sun to send their monkeys to the zoo.
Published: December 18, 2001