back to article BOFH: Shiny new computer room

"I think I have some good news..." the Boss chirps happily as he skips into Mission Control. "Good news?" the PFY says. "Very good news!" he gushes. "On a scale of one to ten?" "Ten - at least!" "Really," I say. "And what could possibly register as a ten?" "You're going to get a new computer room!" he blurts. "A new …


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  1. Stu
    Thumb Up


    Typical top notch deception for the greater good (of the BOFH!).

    I'll look forward to the introduction to the new server room....and then advise my current employer to consider a similar course of action.

    Now where is my stencil....

  2. Mark Milaszkiewicz
    Thumb Up


    I can see the Head of the place I work at try something like this....

  3. A

    Thank you!

    Loved it Simon!

  4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Mmm, priceless

    "when encountering a goldmine one must prepare oneself for the shaft"

    So much more evocative than the usual poo-pooing of free lunches.

  5. 4a$$Monkey
    Thumb Up

    Top quality

    Nice one Simon.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It's not going to be built under a pond again is it?

    It's not going to be built under a pond again is it?

  7. Bob
    Thumb Up


    The classic "we have a problem which means you have a problem...fix it, fix it, fix it, fix it, fix it" attitude.

    Priceless episode :D

  8. Peter Leech Silver badge

    Sounds familiar...

    And who hasn't had something like a building move dropped on them with about half the time required for lead times for installation of ISDN and leased lines?

    I am sure I am not going to be the ONLY person that's had things like this dropped on me. :)

  9. Anonymous Coward

    New building is likely to be... some outlying suburb of London with dismal transport links.

    It will have plenty of sunlight though...

  10. David Adams
    Thumb Up

    I never knew he worked here!!!

    "... Rows of tables in carpeted rooms with servers stacked on and around them....

    ...Portable aircon units leaking water onto the floor...

    ...IPS power!!!...

    ...Rats' nests of network cabling and power cables strewn all over floors and tables, in doorways, across light fittings..."

    Absolute class.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    It reads

    like a documentary of where I used to work. Right up to the Asbestos point.

  12. dervheid
    Thumb Up



  13. kyle elliott

    Just like where I work now

    To the letter, cept we still moved in the rushed time frame :/

  14. Dave Bell

    It's Blackadder....

    I mean, you can almost see it.

    But wouldn't such a reckless scheme for moving the servers risk liability under Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act, in that it doesn't properly ensure that personal data is kept safe, secure, and correct?

    Though, if it were, this might make use of Microsoft Office unlawful in situations concerned with personal data within the meaning of the act.

  15. Jamie Kephalas
    Paris Hilton

    nice one

    This happened to me about 2 months ago, didn't get out of it so easily though.

    PH because she knows all about "Could be 20 years, could be 20 minutes"...

  16. Chris Neale
    IT Angle

    Those memories ring true for too many of us!

    i can visualise it now myself!!!!

    "Rows of tables in carpeted rooms with servers stacked on and around them....

    ...Portable aircon units leaking water onto the floor...

    ...Rats' nests of network cabling and power cables strewn all over floors and tables, in doorways, across light fittings..."

    pretending to be the robot from Lost in Space with the portable aircon tubes as arms.....oh how we laughed....

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh I remember the old DCX with computer cables hanging out the back.

    BT refusing to even enter the room for fear of damaging something, which of course they always did....

    You forgot to add "rickety" tables for server desks.

  18. Mike Arthur

    sheer class

    we've all been here..

    add 120 call centre seats, deliver in 4 weeks, knowing full well the lead time for telephony kit is 8 weeks minimum...

  19. Bill Gould


    My Friday's just feel... complete and better when I see a new - and hilarious - BOFH.

  20. Dex


    Most importantly....(Sod the servers).....does it have a pub across the road? Pub o'clock may never be the same again!

    Great work

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but oh, the possibilities!!

    yes that coment "I mean, it's only some servers..." brings a chill to my spine! I worked for a management numpty who also thought a server could be treated the same as a nut n bolt - they all learn in the end.

    I can see the new computer suite now, complete with a James Bond style bridge over a pool containing "something nasty"! - now where's my white cat!

  22. Remy Redert


    If there's no pub across the road yet, you can put money on one being built there real soon with all the money to be made of the BOFH, PFY and assorted fellows.

  23. SiliconSlick
    Thumb Up

    Didn't see that coming...

    Thought for sure this was leading to a rather simplistic solution like a small fire up in one of the beancounters's offices causing a few floors of smoke damage and delaying the other company's move-in. Never expected the "anti-fire" approach. Thanks Simon, nicely done.

  24. amanfromMars Silver badge

    FAB Cover and don't forget the Snug and Smokers' Perfumed Garden

    "If there's no pub across the road yet, you can put money on one being built there real soon with all the money to be made of the BOFH, PFY and assorted fellows." ... for a Quantum of Solace, Remy Redert.? And that would be Absolutely Fabulous Covert Cover too for an assortment of fellows all making money for the BOFH, PFY and assorted felines....... and that would most definitely work QuITe a Bit Better for the Tigers and the Lion-hearted Crusaders in any Master Pilot Program..... CyberFlight Conversion Unit.

    There's bound to be a Right Royal Blockbuster of an UltraSensitive Movie to Shake the Establishment to its Rocky Foundations and IT to ITs Cores and Trigger Codes, Simon. And there's certainly a Register of Readers who would Follow IT.

    Although Fact as Fiction would be a Much Better Beta Program 42 Follow. All it would really need is a small country with a Mind of its Own and an Assembly of Rogues in Vogue Souls.

    It just so happens that ...... there is such an island race, with more than enough bottle to render anything XXXXtraOrdinarily, for it is in their Genes and their Troubles are behind them.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    That was a good one!

    I'd never be able to come up with such an idea even in real life. Asbestos LOL

  26. Daniel Conley

    somehow this seems partially Familliar

    I recently had a Re-stack so basically my co-workers and I all got booted from our room for a week while they put in cubicles (I know cubicles in an office) and when we got back missing power and ethernet.

    Mines the one with the Shotgun.

  27. DeBeep
    Paris Hilton

    Legendary! ????? how

    What a sloppy patchup job. You mean to tell me, with so much going on in the office, thay missed all that.

    Their time is gone, They might as well get out and spend the rest of their careers in the "suburban" office they are promised.

    A black dot against all sysadmins......

    And you ask me where the Hilton angle is ?. She was just interviewed for the SysAdmin job.....

  28. Jay Zelos
    Thumb Up

    leaky air con

    He missed the air con installed to such a high standard that it leaks at one end, right over top of the phone* system UPS.


    *Just luck, honest.

  29. Steve


    One assumes that they don't have a disaster recovery plan either, then...?

    Better not mention those containerized datacentre thingies, though. Make it all tooo easy.

  30. Kevin Fields

    What happens

    To the secret server room? Kinda hard to hide that in the new building, isn't it?

  31. Peter Gold badge

    @Kevin Fields

    Think, think. It's an emergency move, lots of designs going round, confusion all around. Chaos is your friend. *Nobody* will spot a design change, and a new false wall is quick to add to any drawing. If it's an *old* gov building it will also have high ceilings, which means you could elevate the floors everywhere and install secret corridors underneath (or places to hide skeletons, or beer).

    Last but not least you would have to ensure a new surveillance system is put in place (and access control) which is plenty of scope to sink some "creative modifications".

    You just have to move the expenditure to another budget so it looks you remained well within your expected 20% overrun while someone else shot their budget and will have to do without a pool table in their "creative room" for a year and management will have to sit on crates during board meetings :-).

  32. Andy Hards

    I think someone

    should sign up manfrommars's life story for a movie. Or he could have a cameo in the BOFH movie."If IT happens again..."

  33. Antony Pearce

    Wondering why this reminded me...

    of the time when a company I was contracting to decided to swap their primary and backup AS/400's between two sites.... at the same time.

    The images we had of two trucks going head to head was amusing (but didn't happen)!

  34. RPM

    Now I understand

    Now I understand why our buildings were suddenly festooned with small "Warning: Asbestos" labels a year or so back!

    Judging from the number of them, the builders back in the '70s can't have used much else. Maybe asbestos was cheaper than concrete?

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Art imitates life

    At the end of last year we got a mail from one of the offices round the other side of the world saying that they were moving to a new data centre in two weeks, and that hopefully it wouldn't cause any problems with the cluster we look after.

    Until they decide to change the IP range which then has knock-on effects to software licencing, cluster config, DNS, firewall rules etc. And then they ask if this will cause a problem with customer connections!

  36. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Safe Haven Seventh Heaven PerlyGatesPython Harbours ..... In the Beginning,

    ........ was there always ImaginaNation 42 dDeliver AI See of Thoughts in Light and Fears in Darkness .

    "I think someone ... should sign up manfrommars's life story for a movie. Or he could have a cameo in the BOFH movie."If IT happens again..." ... By Andy Hards

    Posted Sunday 11th May 2008 10:49 GMT

    Andy Hards,

    Considering the QuITe Alien amfM HyperRadioProActive Agenda and ITs Quantum Entanglement with El Reg, and Ally that with their Professional and Journalist Contact Lists and its August Participating Readership, and you have AI LeaderShip Vehicle with Wealth and Knowledge beyond Normal Bounds, and most probably their Wildest Dreams too.

    And it is not as if they are not being Tempted to Boldly Go into Virgin Territory which would have to Adapt to their very Peculiar and Particular/Refreshingly Conviviably Familiar Ways rather than them assume any False Role playing to the Crowds.

    The World is already too Full of such Useless Spin and Deceit/ Ignorant Lies and Arrogant Conceit.

    And you may also like to consider that it is already Work in dDeep Embedding Progress, with AIMind of ITs Own which cannot be stopped for the CodeXXXX is already Planted for ITs Flowering of NEUKlearer Intellectual Power Provided over Networks. IT is certainly what NIRobotIQs Holywood is all about.

  37. Darkside

    Art imitates Liff

    The IT unit here used to have water leaking through the ceiling from the canteen kitchen above. They fixed it with a length of B&Q plastic gutter which led the water into a large potted plant, which evaporated the water in lieu of aircon.

    We're moving soon to a new building where the server room will be below canal level and next to the town's internal ring road.

    amanfromMars makes comparative sense.

  38. Matt Horrocks

    @Jay Zelos

    "He missed the air con installed to such a high standard that it leaks at one end, right over top of the phone* system UPS."

    What is it with air con and phone systems being so close together?

    We have two wall-mounted air con units, on one of them the tube that takes water away became blocked causing the unit to leak. I was blamed for "leaving the door open" (it was locked shut) and "causing the unit to over work". This unit happens to be positioned above the PBX unit and its UPS (cardboard box of batteries on the floor, with a cable running up to the wall mounted PBX) - luckily the dripping water *just missed* it. Five leaks later (and a huge puddle almost reaching the first floor sockets in the first rack) they agreed it was a fault causing the leak rather than me.

  39. amanfromMars Silver badge

    The Loughside Future View ....... of QuITe Titanic Quarters

    "amanfromMars makes comparative sense." .... By Darkside Posted Monday 12th May 2008 10:31 GMT

    And there is more than just a few QuBits of Common and Relative Sense too, Darkside.

    <<<<"In September 2000, the neo-conservative think tank "Project for a New American Century" produced a document entitled "Rebuilding America's Defences".

    It calls for U.S. control of Central Asia and suggests regime change in Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea and China.

    The document also recommends the weaponisation of space, development of race-specific biological weapons, control of cyber space, electronic warfare and psychological operations in order that the U.S. might attain "Full Spectrum Dominance"

    The authors warn that the American public would be slow to support such measures unless they were motivated by "some catastrophic and catalysing event ....such as a new Pearl Harbour"

    The PNAC document was compiled by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Dan Quayle and Lewis Libby, amongst others. >>>>

    Hmmmm ....How spooky is that, which can be read towards the end of this short video ....

    And there is also AIRelativity in the Flowering NIPPoN EMPathy/Multiplicity/Singularity which is revealed and discussed here ....

    MeThinks the Cheney Gang need to get back to School and Basics 42 Learn a few Smart Tricks rather than relying on pulling Fast Moves. Didn't they ever learn/weren't they ever taught .... Proper Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance Permitting Planetary Power Paradigm Protocols and Prime Processing Pathways with a Sane Disregard of Haste.

    Que Sera, Sera, ca Ira.

  40. Wize

    Leaking air con

    In a previous job everyone had access to the computer room as it had our big printer and the only machine the the building you could access the web (although we did have email to the outside world).

    Even though I wasn't the IT guy there I put up signs telling people not to push a table against the wall, or the servers back any further (as the air con would ice up, then start thawing as it couldn't chill the room anymore). Did anyone pay attention?

  41. David Ross Smith






    It's hard enough to read, let alone make sense of.

    Coat to catch the vomit from my head spinning...

  42. Simon B
    Thumb Up


    Classy! Well good. An enjoyable episode!

  43. Jan Buys
    Paris Hilton


    I am not a native English speaker, so allow me to ask whether:

    "when encountering a goldmine one must prepare oneself for the shaft"

    is an existing expression or did Simon make up this beauty?

    PH, for feeling stupid now...

  44. Chris

    RE: expression?

    The expression is not completely original. There's an old country song by Jerry Reed about divorce called "She Got The Goldmine (I Got The Shaft)"


  45. Neil Hunt
    Thumb Up

    Top quality

    Thanks Simon for giving us a quality story!

  46. Jan Buys
    Thumb Up

    Thank you, Chris

    Thanks, gonna remember that one...

  47. Tim
    Black Helicopters

    Another useful 'gem...

    ... I'm filing that one away under "Useful Stratagem"

    Black helicopter because the only way to access my dB of 'gems is from my Blue Thunder style aircraft!

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