Not the ticket-handling efficiency we had in mind

This group of climate modelers wants to work with a government weather model -- and that requires acquiring both the model and the recommended hardware to run it on, reports an IT pilot fish on the scene.

"Acquiring the government software requires a series of approvals, which means a short wait," fish says. "The group's manager routes software and hardware requests to the company help desk via job-tracking software, requesting an eight-core Microsoft server running 64-bit processing.

"It also happens that the manager is due for a new laptop. There's a new slim model, half the weight of the old one, that will be nice on upcoming travel. So while she's at it, she routes a request via the job-tracking software for a new slim laptop."

Weeks go by. Finally the software key is in hand.

But in the meantime, fish has convinced the climate modelers that they'll be better served using a virtual machine on a large cluster the company has recently acquired. The math modelers agree. The cluster tech gets started building the interfaces to use the new model. And the help desk closes the ticket on the server request.

The manager goes on a trip with her old laptop, and when she returns she checks the status of the new laptop request.

The ticket is closed, she's told. You've already received your new laptop. No I haven't, she insists.

"It turns out that because the laptop and the server request went into the job-tracking system on the same day from the same manager, they were viewed as duplicate entries," says fish.

So both requests are still in the system: one for a beefy server and one for a slim, lightweight laptop. And both are stamped closed as of the date when the cluster work started.

Help desk straightens out the laptop problem, and the manager gets her new laptop in a hurry. It's the best service she's ever gotten from IT -- not counting the weeks of delay due to the ticket confusion.

Not long after that, the cluster tech is trying to optimize model performance when he gets a copy of an 11-week-old ticket for an eight-core Windows server routed to him.

"The help desk wanted to know if the manager was having second thoughts about the cluster solution," fish says.

"The manager told me to call her for an explanation, because she didn't want to put it in an email. I told her a story this good had to be written down."

Write it down for Sharky. Send me your true tale of IT life at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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