Now that you mention it, there IS one more thing...

Help desk pilot fish gets a call from a remote office: Users are having problems getting access to the local server.

"I tried to remote into the server, but could not establish a connection," says fish. "I pinged the server and it responded. I went to a secondary remote connection and it also failed.

"I asked the office manager, the one who reported the problem, to go to the server closet and see if the server was on. She reported back that she couldn't tell if it was on."

Fish knows that IT did a cyclical hardware replacement just the week before, so he figures the power indicator light isn't where the old one was, and that's why the office manager can't find it. A PC tech is already enroute to that office for a scheduled site visit, so fish calls the tech and asks him to go immediately to the server closet upon his arrival.

Then fish tells the office manager that the tech will check out the server when he arrives.

Thirty minutes later, tech calls fish back -- and says the server closet is full of smoke, smells very acrid, and every now and then a flash of orange light appears from the back of the server.

Fish tells tech to pull the power cords and call the server vendor's tech support.

Then fish calls the office manager again and explains the situation -- and asks if there was smoke in the room when she went in to look for the power light on the server.

"Oh yes," she replies, "that's why I couldn't see the power light."

Stunned fish asks if a room full of smoke didn't cause her some alarm, and why she hadn't told him about it.

"Well, you didn't ask about smoke," she says. "You only asked about the server power light."

Sighs fish, "The vendor tech advised us that the server's power supply failed, caught fire and melted part of the motherboard. They put in an order for a new server, and we failed-over to our backup server.

"And now we have added the question, 'Is there smoke or a burning smell in the server closet?' to our troubleshooting checklist."

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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