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The Faculty That Crossed the Line

  December 14, 2005   Operations

I feel that this should be told in the form of an epic story. But I’m too stressed out right now to add such a flare. A day that I’ve seen coming for a very long time has finally come. Well, come and past. It was just today that I was able to put all the peaces in order and connect all the dots.

We have a server room in the basement of the building I work in. The space used to belong to physics. There is an inner room that is the server room and another room you must go through to get into the server room. From the outter room, the server room is not secure. The inner door can be opened with a coat hanger, there are vents between the two rooms, bad dry wall, etc. Its damn cold because of the AC in the server room, and loud. Also, the physics department still controls the keys to this room and gives far too many folks access to what should be a secure area. We also use the outer room for receiving shippments and as a staging area for upgrades of labs which happens two or three times a year. But, the main point is that if the outer room is physically compromised so is the server room.

The day has come where physics wants to move grad students into this outer room. We have made folks aware of other space in the building 10 feet away from this one, but that is too far away from the research group. I’ve had the bossman make the point of the aspects of physical security of the server room. No argument was able to sway the physics department. The deans and administration refused to back our claims. The bossman is now having our student helpers clean out the outer room and move stuff into the server room. This is creating air flow problems already. Did I mention a fire hazard? Its very bad practice to clutter a server room.

Yet, the battle has been lost. I have no idea when students will move into that space but that room as been re-aquired by the physics department.

What do I do with a physically compromised server room? What do I do when some physics minion opens the server room being cold and tries to adjust the thermostat? What do I tell the users of the equipment in that room?

Why will the administration not back the efforts of the IT professionals? I have no budget and am unable to aquire the expertise and equipment to do my job at what I would think would be satisfactory. No matter what I say, what I do, what policy I try to create the faculty always turn everything around so everything is the fault of the IT professionals. Even a storage/backup catastrophe from a completely different IT group is blamed on my IT group.

There are many things that piss me off. There are many things that make me think about getting a new job away from the university. There are a lot of things wrong that work hard to correct. I can deal with a lot of political mess. But the faculty have gone across the line. There is no turning back. This situation is completely inexcusable. But, I still have no way to convice PhDs that there is something wrong here.

I have an interview with Red Hat tomorrow.

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