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Monday, July 25, 2011

An open letter to our storage system

Dear Storage System:

I think it is time that we had a talk.  Not a friendly chat, but a serious, heart-to-umm-bus talk.  About real issues.

You know, we used to have one of your older cousins live with us.  Your cousin's official name was just a bunch of letters and numbers, but we always said "the Naz" for short.  Kind of like "the Fonz."

The Naz was sweet.  Everyone loved the Naz.  When the Naz felt the least bit sick, in a flash there would be a call home, and then before you could say, "broken disk drive," some dispatcher would be on the phone with us, offering to bring out a replacement part that same day.  Sometimes we'd even get the phone call before we knew there was a problem.  Those were the times!

Sure, some people on campus made fun of us, but we loved the Naz anyway.  "Hey, why do you sepnd so much on storage for your Naz?  Don't you know you can buy storage from us way, way cheaper?"  Yes, they would say such things.  Other storage providers can be so cruel.

But we didn't care.  We loved our Naz.  Dependable, reliable, but, sure, a little expensive.  But we thought that we were spending our money wisely on the Naz.  Not a bit of trouble.  We loved our Naz.

But, as all good things go, so did the Naz.  Parts got old.  The cabinet got dusty.  Sure, a 300GB disk drive seemed big enough back in 2005, but now it just seemed, I don't know, quaint.  And, you know, the Naz never had a second data mover....

And, so, after a lot of planning, and a lot of work, we put the Naz out to pasture.  The Naz isn't storing and serving data like in the old days; it just mills about the machine room, chewing on electricity, and soaking up the air conditioning.  Visitors come by to visit, and they never stay with the Naz for very long.

Of course, as we were reading sweet bedtime stories to the Naz, we were grooming you for the job.  You were new and shiny.  We didn't know you very well, but we new our Naz, and we knew you were supposed to be just like our Naz.  But newer.  And better.  And with more blue lights.  And we were excited.

Things started well.  In many ways you were just like the Naz, but better.  Your disk drives were hefty.  You had newer software.  You even seemed a little faster, just like your car does after you wash it.  This was great.

But then the behavior problems started.  You know what I mean.

Like the time that you knew full well that there was a problem, but did you call home for help?  No.  You made us do it.  Why?  Why wouldn't you use the nice telephone line we left for you?

And, sure, after we finally convinced you to call home, you then told the foulest lies.

"We've tried to log in to your system, but the password doesn't work!" the techs would say.  Why did you give them the wrong password?  Do you think this is a game?

"Please download DiskDebunker v4.3 from our mirror site.  Install if on a Windows ME machine, configured for use on a private network, and use it to assess if the storage processor valve flanges are flush.  This will produce a 700GB file called, and you should then upload that to the Easy Web support site." they would say other times.  I can only imagine the wild tales you must have told to confuse them so.  Why couldn't you just be honest and authentic, and tell them that one of your disk drives faulted, and all we needed was a replacement?  Why couldn't you be more like the Naz?

"I have read and understand all site messages." said the service requests.  Yeah, sure.  Why did our little troublemaker say this time?

This behavior must stop!

We're scheduling a little something that some people call "an intervention."  We want you to hear the problems that your mischief is causing.  We want you to hear the stories.  We want you to hear it from the Naz.

We don't want it to end this way.  We want it to work.  But we've had enough.  Don't make us call the people at Property Disposition to come get you.  You won't like where they will take you.

Let's give it one more try.

Your friends @ ICPSR.

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