Posts Tagged 'Technician'

May 16, 2011

A Well-Deserved Retirement

On a normal day at home, the hum inside a personal computer would seem very inaudible. In contrast, if you find yourself inside a data center, you're constantly surrounded by the inescapable whir of workhorse machines. This whir is the sound of thousands and thousands of fans pushing cold air and keeping everything in top working order.

Netwon's Third Law of Motion states that "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," and the most common "reaction" to buzzing of these fans would normally be a gradual slip into madness after exposing human ears to the sound for an extended period of time. That same constant sound of enterprise cooling wreaks havoc on the ears of anyone working nearby due to its specific frequencies. As a result, ear protection is a must for any Server Build Technician.

Recently, a comrade with a special knack for ear protection reached a long overdue retirement from service.

My now-retired friend actually only began work in the SoftLayer Washington, D.C., data center two years ago, and this worker's career was a shining tribute to workplace professionalism. Always silent and steadfast ... You would rarely spend time at work without seeing him. Coworkers would often comment, "Does he ever sleep?" and, "Wow! You're still here?" Despite all these implicit praises, this friend always remained humble and accepting, even during the rough times. I can't remember how many times we may have thrown this poor coworker across the room or the amount of feet that he was dropped from (on a pretty large number of occasions). When abused, he just wrapped himself in duct tape or mended his broken body parts with zip-ties. This may seem an unusual fix for most things, but he never demanded more than that.

Anyone from the WDC location reading this article already knows the comrade I'm speaking of, but the rest of you might be a little lost (and shocked) as I mention the injuries that he suffered and possibly even very upset at how the treatment was handled afterwards. Luckily, the worker I have been describing to you is in fact not a person but an invaluable electronic device that has served me and essentially SoftLayer well through the years: To help combat the noise in our server rooms, I have always relied on this pair of headphones made by Koss to fill my ears with sweet music.

Any of our WDC staff will agree that I am rarely ever seen riding into battle (walking into our server room) without my partner at my side. As they say, you never fully appreciate the value of something until it is gone, so I was clearly reminded of this one day when I happened to misplace my headphones. I was overwhelmed with grief as I searched high and low until I found him dangling in one of our storage rooms and yelled out "TONTO!!" From personal experience, I can see clearly that the devices one picks for use are very important ... Which might explain the careful process SoftLayer undergoes to ensure our customers are provided with the very best equipment.

-Jonathan

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September 10, 2010

Who is Your IT Guy?

In any environment where the need for quick transfer and access of information is required, an “IT guy” is a must. Most people have a bit of a preconceived notion as to what a tech should look like. Most think of large glasses, pocket protectors, and a social anxiety that is idiosyncratic to that particular group. Fans of Saturday Night Live will recall Nick Burns, the condescending technician who fixed the computers in his little corner of TV Land.

SNL IT Guy Nick Burns

While popular culture seems to think that the standard IT Guy fits the above criteria, allow me to be the first to dispel that rumor. For living proof, I submit to you, the SoftLayer NOC.

The technicians here are more exceptions to this seemingly universally accepted rule of what an IT Technician should be. While we possess a large wealth of knowledge, our technicians are all but condescending. To those who don’t know, we’re here to teach you. Being a server administrator has it’s challenges, but our technicians can be your eyes and ears in the datacenter, and instead of replying with “was that so hard?!”, we’ll provide as much information and assistance as we can to get you back on your feet. Our technicians are not just the geeky typecasts that one would expect. Our techs come from all walks of life. Some are self taught, some were taught in a university, while others learned their skills in the Military. Our hobbies run the gamut, including the piloting of aircraft, gaming, sports, outdoor activities, and music – Heck, we even have some former rock stars in our ranks.

Just remember, don’t be afraid to ping your IT Guy for information. A lot of us like to share some of the ninja tricks, war stories, and other anecdotes about our times in battle with hardware, software, and everything in between. Not only do we like to share our technical knowledge, but our individual stories, interests, and fun facts as well. Remember: IT guys are people too!

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