Because what could possibly go wrong?

Pilot fish is dispatched to a big, highly automated warehouse to install a new server.

"It was a really cool facility," fish says. "The computer room had a second-floor glass wall, looking into the warehouse. There were robotic forklifts running on wire guides in the floor. The orders came in, the robots picked and delivered product to the packing area."

Everything is going fine with the server install when suddenly the lights blink and the UPS takes over.

Fish's first thought: What did I do?

Nothing, it turns out -- a backhoe nearby has just ripped through the main power feed for the warehouse. Once the much relieved fish learns that, he returns to the install and finishes up in well under an hour.

He reports to the supervisor that the server is ready and comments that the site must have a really large generator to run the warehouse full of robots with main power. Supervisor proudly replies that they don't need a generator -- the warehouse has an entire room full of batteries for the servers, and the robots run on internal batteries.

The control room can run for 45 to 60 minutes, and power is never down longer than that, he tells fish.

Fish points to the two clocks on the wall -- one on main power and the other on UPS -- and says, "Well, you've now been on UPS power for 45 minutes. It takes about 10 minutes to gracefully shut down these servers and park the heads on all the drives. If you don't, it will not be covered under your maintenance contract."

Reports fish, "His expression changed a bit, and people started shutting down servers pretty quickly. After the last server shut down, the lights went out about 45 seconds later. It took a day to get power back.

"They have a generator now."

Sharky can't generate these stories on his own. So 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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