Watch out for what comes after "the plan worked"

Flashback to last summer, when unusually hot temperatures are making it tough for the local power company to maintain voltages for the data center where this pilot fish works.

"It wasn't enough to disturb the UPSes or kick the generator on, but it sure made the secondary server room air conditioning unhappy," says fish.

And when the AC goes out on a 110-degree day, it takes only about 10 minutes for the server room temps to hit 90 degrees -- and alarms start going off in the racks.

Fortunately, the last time this building was expanded, IT anticipated a failure and put in a duct that brings in air from the redundant large chillers that cool the rest of the office. Trouble is, those units have to run constantly to keep the server room cool.

So one Friday, after the AC has been up and down all week, everyone knows that somebody will have to come in over the weekend to open the vent if the AC goes out again -- and there are no volunteers.

But the building engineer has an idea: Leave the vent open and move the main AC unit's thermostat into the server room, so it will keep the room cool.

"The plan worked, and the server room stayed a nice cool 70 degrees all weekend," fish reports.

"Unfortunately, the building engineer neglected to turn off the heat function of the thermostat, which was set at 74 degrees. On Monday morning it was nearly 115 in the rest of the office and we'd lost about 30 PCs and two refrigerators that were running over the weekend.

"The server room AC unit now has its own full online UPS, and hasn't gone out since."

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