Your UPS Needs A Service Contract. Seriously.

“Maintaining” the 50,000 kVA UPS system that keeps your 24/7/365 production floor running (and generating millions a day in revenue) by replacing the batteries as they fail is not a “best practice”.

In addition to highly abbreviated run times (less than 20 minutes), it leads to things like a server room filled with toxic fumes, and batteries swelling up so much they literally can’t be removed and replaced (according to the twentysomething who thought so little of his lungs that had no problems attempting the task when I refused). I wonder what OSHA has to say about that?

The professional UPS service technician I brought in to evaluate it the first week I was there told me that some of the batteries had date codes indicating they were almost a decade old! I forwarded his proposal to the middle manager who hired me, and months later, as I handed over the reins to a permanent replacement and left the company, he told me that approval was still “pending”.

Needless to say, a short time later, I got a frantic call: the power had gone out. The systems had crashed and weren’t coming up. Could I drop everything and come in? Emergency rates? No problem!

Did I mention that I was hired the day before the previous incumbent left, vowing to never speak to anyone at the company again, and leaving almost no documentation in his wake? I was still discovering undocumented systems performing critical functions only days before I left.

…and no, this was not a small company.

By Ghost In The Shell

very oldschool computer geek: started with Sears brand Pong on an 11" black and white TV, used a variety of 8-bit home computers, including a Commodore PET... for work; in 1992! Got online in '81, dialed up to BBS systems using 300/1200/2400/9600 baud modems and an ADM3A green screen. Got on the internet via a hard-wired serial connection to the campus Prime minicomputer, where I was also introduce to the Amiga. Essentially wound up being an Internet drop-out from that school, and then again when I quit school a second time and started a successful pre-boom era Was the sysadmin, we ran HP-UX and Solaris. Along the way, I started one of the world's first websites in '93 (and it's still running under someone else's care and feeding). Ran a dot.bomb into the ground around the millennium, then eventually wound up doing IT consulting (glorified sysadmin, essentially) for a living.

Unlike our namesake, I'm an admin who occasionally writes code, so I have a slightly different take.

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