So you're saying we need to have THAT connected too?

This pilot fish does tech support for a security appliance vendor, whose customers tend to get really concerned when the security black box isn't doing its thing.

"One of the configurations we sold and supported was a pair of appliances in high-reliability mode, so that if one failed the other would take over," says fish

"One customer kept complaining that the pair of appliances could not talk to each other and, of course, failed to fail-over under test circumstances. Since they were fairly close, my manager and I went to pay them a visit in person.

"First the customer demonstrated that, while one unit seemed to work properly, the backup unit could never be seen on the network.

"Once the customer was convinced that they had proven to us that the problem was real, I finally got a chance to do some actual troubleshooting.

"After some initial testing, I asked them to show me the ARP cache for the local router -- and there was no entry for the problem-child appliance.

"I asked them why the local router couldn't see the plugged-in appliance.

"The network manager did some quick checking, and discovered that the problem was with a pair of switches that only had one side of a virtual port connection defined. Oops.

"He turned to his team and asked, 'Why did the vendor have to drive all the way up here to show us how to do our job?'"

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