Because that's what's REALLY important, right?


Flashback to the early 2000s, when this pilot fish is a network consultant at a state agency where Novell NetWare isn't just a fond memory -- it's the order of the day.

"I was tasked to design an upgrade path from NetWare 4.11, running NetWare over IP, to their NetWare 5.1 pure TCP/IP stack," says fish.

"One of the other state agencies had a 4.11 server that was running an accounting package that needed to be accessed after the upgrade, but had to be modified to run in compatibility mode that supported the new TCP stack."

Fish talks to the other agency's IT director, who tells him there's no problem making the adjustments, but she'll have her agency's own consultant come in and do the work.

That sounds fine to fish, who talks with the consultant and then sends the IT director and consultant a memo specifying exactly what needs to be done -- just three or four lines of commands to add to a batch file -- and the date it needs to be completed.

Right on schedule, fish's agency performs the cutover and turns off the non-TCP/IP support. And for the most part, things work -- all except for the other agency's accounting package.

"I talked to their IT director and asked whether they fixed the batch files, and was assured many different times that it was completed as instructed," fish says.

"I was stumped. And after numerous calls to Novell, they were stumped too."

Finally, fish's team brings in a packet capture analyzer to see exactly what's happening on the network. The first thing they notice: The "upgraded" server at the other agency is still passing non-TCP packets to fish's network.

He once again calls the other agency's IT director -- who reassures him that the fix was done.

Fish remains un-reassured, so he decides to take a walk over to the other department and ask to look at the server.

Sure enough, the machine's batch files are untouched -- they've never been modified.

And the IT director's response? "She was mortified that I would come over unannounced and ask to look at the server," grumbles fish. "She called up my IT director and protested my intrusion."

Here's what's really important to Sharky: your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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