IBM vs. Google
IBM at least gives you a warning when they pull a ladder from their hardware offering.
Google gives you no warning when they pull the ladder out from under you with their software offerings.
IBM has pulled up the ladder behind customers of its Blue Gene/Q supercomputers. A hardware withdrawal announcement dated June 8th, 2021 lists 53 products that Big Blue will stop selling as of September 30th, 2021. Most are cables, old-school add-on cards, or racks. But two ladders also make the list — namely the “Lift Tool …
But the Power 6 575 and Power 7 775 supes. also had a lift tool.
They was used to wind a drawer out of the rack, and to raise/lower it to a height where it could be worked on.
The tools for the 775s I was involved with were not powered, but allowed you to attach a a battery powered drill as a power source so you were not constantly winding handles to move the drawers.
When the clusters were removed, the de-installation team took the lift tools with the systems, but did not want the drills (we had 2 of them). Unfortunately, the IBM CE decided that he liked them too much to share one of them with me!
It is interesting about the ladders. If you go to any IBM or previously IBM site, you are bound to find these ladders knocking around. As far as I am aware, they used the same model for virtually all mainframes, RS/6000 SP/2s, BlueGene, and tall rack Power systems for the last 30 years at least. They come as part of the maintenance package of these large systems unless removed with the order, and generally are so useful that they get snaffled by the local electricians, aircon. and other engineers unless clearly marked to be left with the machines or locked away.
About 1990 the drives for HP disk cabinets (about a small USB stickfull in modern terms were huge and hugely heavy. There was a crane to ift them in and out which consisted of a steel bar that fitted over the cabinets and a sling with a pulley system to lift the drives. Same job but portable enough for the field engineers to bring with them instead of having to have one permanently on site but they did look a bit dodgy in use.
They made the ladder leading up to the attic over my garage, the fold-up kind that fits between joists and attaches to panel that also hides it; I assume they also made the spring/hinge/linkage system for the panel itself.
Giving the height of my garage ceiling, the first owner of the house (I'm the third) built a custom wooden "foot" with one more step plus a piece flat on the floor. This foot slides up into the main ladder's main rails; tight but effective and still removable to stow the ladder itself.
All together it's a very solid system as tested by me (250+ US pounds). It's safe enough that I let the kids up and down it whenever I have reason to open the hatch, with one basic rule: one on the ladder at a time.
I also have a Little Giant (quite versatile and strong but heavy!) and a Werner fiberglass (lighter for most indoor work but still solid). Can't argue with the established brands.
I had to put together the orders for supercomputer systems, and things like ladders and toolkits were always a bit of a challenge. Most of the order was made up of building blocks repeated over and over again, for example 20 racks each containing 8 identical servers, or whatever. The challenge was always to remember that you generally only needed ONE ladder or ONE toolkit, it was quite easy to accidentally order 20 of the things, or none at all. I usually got it right, probably thanks to colleagues double-checking my orders before they were submitted into the jaws of the ordering system and getting me to revise the orders in the light of errors like these.
I probably only reached a point of genuine expertise in constructing these orders by the time I resigned from IBM in 2008.
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