Behind an office IT overhaul debacle

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This article appeared in the July 2015 issue of CRN magazine.

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Behind an office IT overhaul debacle

One of Rabid’s clients moved into new offices recently. Before you ask, yes, Rabid does actually have clients. And yes, they have offices and computers and phones and stuff. 

Anyway, back to the story. Rabid was asked to specify the network for the new office, and set it all up ready for the move. We got the floor plans, got the staff involved, and everyone chose their preferred location and desk orientation. We specified an actual computer room.

The cable guy was hired, and he sprayed the office with Cat-6A cable with four outlets at every desk. Nice job, Joe. Everything terminated in the computer room. Yes, they actually included the computer room in the new office design. Something about the boss no longer being happy to sit on the server stack like he did in the old office. Wanted a chair. Fair enough.

So far, everything was going to plan, apart from the usual delays due to council DAs, builders, painters and plumbers being otherwise occupied. Six months later, the office was ready, so Rabid arrived on-site to get the network switches installed, fire up the servers and make sure it all worked.

Well, that’s when the real fun began. We walked into a construction zone. There were tradies everywhere, power tools strewn about like toys at a child’s birthday party, and no glass in the windows. It’s June! 

Lucky for us we’d brought the thermal underwear. The lights seemed to flicker a little now and then. There was no power.

Well, there was actually a generator. A rather large generator. It seems that the landlord had underestimated the power needs of the new complex and the energy wallies had taken away the inadequate substation transformer thingy and hadn’t found a bigger one yet. Fortunately, Rabid’s specs for the server room racks included a couple of rather large line-interactive uninterruptible power supplies. That worked to clean up the dirty generator power.

The computer room turned out to be exactly what was specified, large enough for the racks, with room to walk around them, nice smooth carpet-free floor, separate air-conditioning, lockable door. Nice. Say what? There was no power to the air-conditioner. Right. Well, we just left the door open for the time being, since the staff had yet to move in; they were still at the old office. Okay, didn’t see that coming. There was no door either. It was being ‘adjusted’ down in the main tradies arena.

Installed the network switches. Hooked up the broadband link. Installed the servers. Fired them up. Everything was going nicely. Howling wind and hum of circular saws notwithstanding. Okay, didn’t see that coming, either. The server fans were working extremely well at filtering all the dust out of the entire site. Shutdown. Where’s that door? The door finally arrived, but was found to be still a smidgen too large. No problem says the builder, “I’ll just shave it to fit”. And he did. Right there in the computer room.

Right. Vacuum cleaner out, cleaned up the room for the third time. By the third day the glass had magically appeared in the window frames, and the generator had been replaced by regular power. The computer room door had been made to fit, the air-conditioner had power and the servers could be turned on and tested. Everything working. The moving people started to arrive with office desks and filing cabinets.

Finally, the staff arrived in their shiny new office, with glass and doors in place, networks humming and phones ringing. Bliss, right? 

“I don’t remember saying I wanted my desk there!”  

“Why do I have to sit next to him?”  

“I can’t walk all that way to the printer!”  

“I need more outlets here!”

Gotta go! Office politics to avoid! 

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