Another bright idea with just one little problem

Flashback to the 1980s, when the new computer room where this IT pilot fish works has been designed by the company's owner.

"Qualifications? What qualifications?" fish says. "His bright idea was to have the floor level with the rest of the office -- thus, no ramps."

But the cables that would normally go under a raised floor still have to go somewhere. The solution to that problem: Build the computer room over what's essentially a shallow swimming pool, so there's room to string the wire.

Along with the mainframe and the cabling that connects it to its drives and printers, the room has a huge air conditioner that also humidifies the room's air. But that's easy enough to deal with: The air-conditioning installers run the overflow pipes to the pool's floor drain.

And it all works fine in the weeks after the new computer room goes live -- at least until the day fish notices that the room seems a lot more humid than it should be. After a phone begins to malfunction, he gets even more suspicious.

"Imagine my surprise when I pulled a tile and found the swimming pool was full to the brim with water," says fish. "All the CPU cables, power cables, modem lines and telco wires were under water -- heavy-duty power lines as well. It seems that schmutz in the AC overflow had clogged the drain plate like the stopper in a tub.

"Amazingly, after drying it all out, everything still worked fine."

Sharky wants you to jump right in -- the water's fine. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. 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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