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A better day, for sure

Some times when you set up a new network closet it all just comes together. You show up with a pile of pre-tested and preconfigured equipment, you screw it all into the rack(s), run patch cables, power it up, check the fiber optic link(s) to the main closet, ping a few things with your laptop, and call it Good. *

Yesterday's install in the new Tax Assessor's space in City Hall was not one of those times. It was hot, cramped, confused, and plagued by little problems. I had hoped for 'in at eleven and out by one'. I got there at ten thirty with one of my guys and we cleared out at three. We still need to go back to do labeling, properly configure the management on the stack of data switches, and get the UPS plugged in. Not our best showing.

Today, by contrast was more productive and a lot more fun. We ran some fiber under the floor of the computer room (2x2 raised floor tiles — hey, suction-cup tile pullers — w00t!) for the server crew. I finally (as in, a couple of years after the last time my laptop and bag were stolen — it's a long story) assembled a proper kit of serial cables to let me connect to the management ports on most of our network equipment. A lack of proper cables is one of the things that made yesterday such a pain.

And, while we were sweating our 'nads off at City Hall yesterday, the chassis for the new main router/switch for City Hall showed up. I spent my last hour at work today putting asset tags on the last components and loading all of the cards and power supplies into the chassis. I can say this about a fully loaded Nortel 8600 — it's in no danger of blowing away in a strong wind. It must weigh a hundred pounds. We're definitely going to pull the three power supplies out (probably ten pounds apiece) when we move it and hang it in one of the racks in the basement of City Hall. After two years of budgetary starvation, it's nice to have new money and be working on new projects.



* I have a little christening ritual for any new fiber optic or T1 link. I stream the Lynyrd Skynyrd song Sweet Home Alabama off of one of the servers and crank it up good and loud. As frivolous as this may seem, you need to be able to keep a steady stream of ~200Kbps going over the link for there to be no glitches in the playback. Particularly on low-speed leased circuits (Frame Relay / T1) this will turn up hidden little problems as reliably as any diagnostic. I just hope that playing Skynyrd in Hartford doesn't get me fired!

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