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  • You're not over-reacting at all. 

    Some tips from our transition to a proper room:

    RoomAlert and ITWatchDogs make decent environment monitors. Prices aren't bad, and they both offer alerting. RoomAlert has a nice application that runs on a VM or standalone box for history logging. 

    Monoprice is awesome for cables. Really high quality and cheap. They have tiered pricing for bulk orders, too. 

    Velcro. Lots and lots of Velcro.

    Cable Management fingers for your racks. This is one of the best things we did... nearly all of our cables are velcroed and tucked away in these cable management devices. No more tangled mess.

    Remember to pitch that a mess of cables only causes your department more work when there's an issue, and that a re-build of the room is a great opportunity to gain proper documentation of the entire system. You're talking a reality low cost to get the project done... probably less than a couple grand including the cost of environment monitors. If the AC fails and this protects even just one of your servers, it'll justify the cost. 

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    • You're not over-reacting at all. 

      Some tips from our transition to a proper room:

      RoomAlert and ITWatchDogs make decent environment monitors. Prices aren't bad, and they both offer alerting. RoomAlert has a nice application that runs on a VM or standalone box for history logging. 

      Monoprice is awesome for cables. Really high quality and cheap. They have tiered pricing for bulk orders, too. 

      Velcro. Lots and lots of Velcro.

      Cable Management fingers for your racks. This is one of the best things we did... nearly all of our cables are velcroed and tucked away in these cable management devices. No more tangled mess.

      Remember to pitch that a mess of cables only causes your department more work when there's an issue, and that a re-build of the room is a great opportunity to gain proper documentation of the entire system. You're talking a reality low cost to get the project done... probably less than a couple grand including the cost of environment monitors. If the AC fails and this protects even just one of your servers, it'll justify the cost. 

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    • because you are the only one reacting it seems like you are over reacting. 

      Note your issues. build your case. CYOA. if they don't care, you don't need to worry. Karma will prove your point eventually. just make sure your butt is not on the line when **it hits the fan. 

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    • Present your case and if they won't do anything about it, then move on and work with what you have. 

      Document everything with time and dates of discussion for when things hit the fan.

      In the mean time, you can start to cleanup the room. Work 1 cable at time, label as you go.

      Get the Temperature monitoring online and go about your day.

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    • If you can, pictures would be a great start.  It would help us get an idea of where you are at and help you get to where you need to be.

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    • Not over reacting but is an easily fixable situation even if you must take it upon yourself to accomplish a little at a time.  First and foremost, pick a switch and trace every single wire to find out where it goes.  Label them all and then on a weekend or other after hours time come in and re-arrange.  If you break the whole thing down into small sections then it is much easier to deal with.  I have untangled quite a few birds nests of wires in my time and although it is a major pain in the ass it is easily doable.  

      Now the AC system and no monitoring, first off I have never had monitoring of AC systems in any environment I have ever worked in so this is not new to me.  Do you have dual AC units?  If not I would make the business case for that first.  Also make sure those units are on separate circuits that way the only thing that would cause you to lose both is a major power failure and in that case hopefully you should already know there is an issue.

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    • There isn't enough information in your post to make any real suggestions that they'd care about. The best I can offer is a typical overall perspective -

      Everything you've mentioned revolves around having a problem, and time required to recover from that problem.

      From their perspective, that time is a fixed cost - some amount, call it $X.  They have decided they will pay it.

      There may be secondary costs to having a problem - an inability to process sales, etc. That still gets rolled into $X, whatever it is.

      Whatever you plan to do, will cost $Y.   From there, it is simple math.

      For most environments, Up-time for the sake of up-time is a waste of time.  The trick is finding the cost-benefit balance that works.

      Cheers,

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    • Joshua_Uwadiae wrote:

       my Manager hasn't made a major push to change this either. The cables aren't labeled so it's unclear as to what exactly is and isn't running.
      Why are you even worrying about this? If your manager knows about the situation as you wrote and has not pushed for a resolution to this - get on with your life. Their problem if nothing is done, not yours. Just keep records showing you raised this upwards.

      Joshua_Uwadiae wrote:

      I'm looking to make a business case to the directors and i want to make sure I include best practices.

      Again, why... it is not your job. You have a manager, if it is needed they would put a case to the directors. If they do not and you have records showing that you notified your manager of the problem - go enjoy your life. Nothing to do with you anymore if they decide not to do anything. You have done your job and did the initial notification to your manager of the problem... leave it with them and go be happy.
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    • smc_ wrote:

      There isn't enough information in your post to make any real suggestions that they'd care about. The best I can offer is a typical overall perspective -

      Everything you've mentioned revolves around having a problem, and time required to recover from that problem.

      From their perspective, that time is a fixed cost - some amount, call it $X.  They have decided they will pay it.

      There may be secondary costs to having a problem - an inability to process sales, etc. That still gets rolled into $X, whatever it is.

      Whatever you plan to do, will cost $Y.   From there, it is simple math.

      For most environments, Up-time for the sake of up-time is a waste of time.  The trick is finding the cost-benefit balance that works.

      Cheers,

      True enough, but you also need to account for the cost of hardware. One of our typical servers runs between 5 and 10k, the SANS are 3-4x that. So if you lose this hardware, the costs start going up pretty rapidly. And if they don't see the benefit of a few grand in this type of prevention, I can only imagine what they'll say when you tell them you need all new servers because they melted.

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    • Jimmy9008 wrote:

      Joshua_Uwadiae wrote:

       my Manager hasn't made a major push to change this either. The cables aren't labeled so it's unclear as to what exactly is and isn't running.
      Why are you even worrying about this? If your manager knows about the situation as you wrote and has not pushed for a resolution to this - get on with your life. Their problem if nothing is done, not yours. Just keep records showing you raised this upwards.

      Joshua_Uwadiae wrote:

      I'm looking to make a business case to the directors and i want to make sure I include best practices.

      Again, why... it is not your job. You have a manager, if it is needed they would put a case to the directors. If they do not and you have records showing that you notified your manager of the problem - go enjoy your life. Nothing to do with you anymore if they decide not to do anything. You have done your job and did the initial notification to your manager of the problem... leave it with them and go be happy.

      Probably for the same reason I made the push to our manager. We're the ones in the trenches and we're trying to make our day-to-day tasks easier.

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    • Brian3611 wrote:

      Probably for the same reason I made the push to our manager. We're the ones in the trenches and we're trying to make our day-to-day tasks easier.

      Within limits, yes. You are able to raise any issue to your manager. If they do not want to do anything about it (which is up to management), it's not your call.

      Raise a problem to manager, put potential solutions to the problem - then forget about it. It is up to the manager how you work, not you.

      If the servers overheat, yeah - you will be pulling in the hours to fix the problem. But its not you under the bus; its the boss.

      Simply, raise the problem - them get on with things and document.

      Its the manager/subordinate role. Unless asked by your manager... you have no reason to go to the directors. Its why you have a manager and how the hierarchy works.
      Spice (6) flagReport
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    • As for your concern, it's not an overreaction. However, this is not your responsibility. You have obviously voiced your concerns to your direct report, and that is your responsibility. As long as that is documented, all is good for you.

      When the bad things happen because of your management's neglect, yes, it will be more work for you, but it won't be your fault. It won't be fun having to clean up someone else's mess, but that is the career path we've all chose by becoming part of this community we call IT. 

      Though it may not seem like it at times, there is a hierarchal structure and integrity that exists. Part of being successful in IT is respecting that hierarchy, regardless of what you know should be done.

      As much as I don't like the prospects of lost data and massive hardware replacement, I know that if I disrespect the hierarchy, I am now part of a problem rather than a solution. Not all solutions are elegant. Not all solutions seem to be correct until they have had time to work.

      Don't get wound up in a concern that's not yours. Follow the proper chain of command. Do what is permissible in your position, such as tracing cables and labeling them when you have time. At this point, that's the kind of action that will get positive results. Even if it doesn't remedy the problem, it will reflect well on you.

      Live and enjoy life, my friend.

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    • Here are a few snaps :>




       
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    • they didnt load :*( 1 sec.

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    • I'm trying to treat this Infrastracture like I was the Manager. Not that I'm trying to usurp his authority, but my manager unfortunately is rather passive. I often feel obligated to rise to the occasion and I think it's good experience for me learning to create a formal proposal.

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    • @Jimmy : In this business its a small team and the IT team has weekly meetings with the directors so the hierarchy is a lot more close to home. 

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    • A picture is worth a thousand words...  I'd ask those with the purse strings to walk around in there a bit and then decide if  whatever they just broke or unplugged is worth the lost data and productivity.

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    • Just to make sure I'm viewing the image correctly...

      In number two, that's a monitor and keyboard, on the ground, nested comfortably in a cable next to a random pallet that got lost in the server room and now looks like it's too much work to get out of there?

      While I understand your want to support and improve the team as a whole, suppress it, you'll only raise hackles if you bypass the manager, at MOST you should propose to the manager about making a business case out of this, that they can then take further up.

      The most you can do after that is pray, label, and try not to cut a wire on a stray nail, sliver, or press-cut when you step on that pallet.

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    • Wow that's pretty bad - makes me thankful for what I thought was a mess! :-)

      The physical tidying and labelling of cables will only happen one way - someone has to do it, so it comes down to whether that's you or someone else and from the sound of it you're the only one who gives a shit so maybe seize the initiative and help everyone out - and odds are you'll learn much more tracing and labelling stuff yourself.

      The temperature monitoring hardware should only cost a couple of hundred dollars - easy to say "only" but if they can't see the value in spending that vs. walking in to dead hardware (thermal shutdown should kick in but it probably won't cover everything).

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    • Joshua_Uwadiae wrote:

      I'm trying to treat this Infrastracture like I was the Manager. Not that I'm trying to usurp his authority, but my manager unfortunately is rather passive. I often feel obligated to rise to the occasion and I think it's good experience for me learning to create a formal proposal.

      How can you stand it! Wow. Good luck.

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    • *Sigh* This is a very complicated question that strays into a lot of domains. Mostly, it revolves around chain of command and how closely your company follows it. I've been in a couple of these situations, unfortunately, with differing outcomes. In the one case, I was an incoming lower-level manager, taking over for someone who left suddenly and finding the entire department in disarray. My immediate boss was worse than useless, and I very quickly learned that he took everything I was saying, much of which dealt with either making the shop run more efficiently, or data security, which we had glaring holes in, and just sat on it. So I went around him, to the next person up in the chain, and met the same sort of resistance. Eventually, one of the glaring holes got discovered, and $#!+ hit the fan as it tends to. In the ensuing mess I got called into the office of the person effectively running the company at that point and asked point blank why nothing had been done about the holes. I answered honestly, and as respectfully as possible. The outcome was me being told to do my boss's job, which I did, right up until he retired, at which point I took his job.

      By contrast, about two years after that, and some serious leadership shakeups later, I had an issue where we were putting load on a machine that it couldn't handle, enough so that it was bound to fail sooner rather than later. no less than three people, including myself went to my boss, and pointed out, in varying shades of politeness, that it was going to fail, and were brushed off. When it inevitably failed, in a way that was obviously his fault, he punished all three of us in various ways that were difficult to put back on him, until he left the company.

      The third time, it happened to me. I was giving a business case for some training I wanted to take some members of my shop to. unbeknownst to my boss, I had gone to our training department and already had them sign off on it, I was just getting my boss to sign as a courtesy. Of course, -I- didn't tell him that. My boss notes that one of my employees had a disciplinary infraction, and sent an email to both of us saying that he couldn't go to any training. Before I could reply, my subordinate fires an email to said boss stating something to the effect of "But the Training Office has already approved it." Ensuing fireworks were spectacular. I got what I wanted, but it sparked an ongoing friction between our HR department and our IT department to this day.

      You need to gauge your command climate, and the temperament of your bosses. Even if you can't go around your boss, you can write your business case, and find a way to present it to your boss for his "rewrite". If you do the work for him, often times he'll be willing to do a tiny bit extra in order to get the credit. Does it look as good on you? No. Does it get the job done? Yes.

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    • Joshua_Uwadiae wrote:

      @Jimmy : In this business its a small team and the IT team has weekly meetings with the directors so the hierarchy is a lot more close to home. 

      I understand this. If it's a small team in a small company, you will learn more by focusing on just the position you are in. By raising things in the meetings and trying to stand out without being asked by your manager may make you look good here, but when you move on to larger companies that type of action will get you in a lot of trouble... Best to not get in to the habit as it will be difficult once you are set in your ways.

      If you go over your managers head in a large company with a proposal you will probably end up in HR with your manager talking about responsibilities and the way to report things. It is very negative from a managers perspective if you tell them an issue and then go above them. Shows no trust. Do what your manager says after raising a problem but don't take it further after then know about it unless they say.

      If you really want to do a proposal then ask to talk with your manager and say along the lines of "hey, I have noticed the cabling and server room is not great, I'd like to learn some project management and see if I can get more skills. If it's ok with you, if you think I can manage such a thing, could you please give me permission to create and give a project plan/proposal to you?" - this way it's a learning thing... Not a subordinate going over a managers head. If they say no to you, take it as no and move on.

      You only learn through mistakes, so do what you will. But understand that you could end up with a very unhappy manager. Not good ha

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    • I had a similar problem at one of my satellite locations. My boss was very supportive in updating the rack wiring and the server. I'm sorry you have inherited such a mess!

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    • That's a whole lotta "nope" right there. I'd be overreacting as well.

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    • WOW! That looks like a wreck! The key questions you should ask at the next Directors meeting:

      1) How dependent are we on our IT infrastructure?

      2) What happens when it fails?

      Depending on the answers to those questions you can either pursue the funding issue and back it up with scenarios. Not to mention any company that takes pride in their corporate image would be embarrassed at to show that room to anyone. 

      Good Luck! 

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    • WOW!!! Im pretty sure you should take this up with your HSE manager instead of your IT manager as this could be raised

      as a possible hazard. I would put together a proposal and do alot of research into pros and cons of your situation and send that to your manager.

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    • Has the fire department inspected your facility lately? Not sure what the laws are in your area, but my last employer had annual inspections, and that NEVER would have passed! 

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    • Jimmy9008 wrote:

      Joshua_Uwadiae wrote:

       my Manager hasn't made a major push to change this either. The cables aren't labeled so it's unclear as to what exactly is and isn't running.
      Why are you even worrying about this?

      I am guessing he worries about it because he is a professional and it is his job.  Regardless of the stack of documentation, if something goes wrong it's his butt and his headache.

      If you are in the US, here is a good source for Velcro on a spool.

      http://www.cabletiesandmore.com/american/catalog/velcro-qwik-ties-tape-with-dispenser-yard-roll-p-12...


      One cable at time my friend. Don't try to tackle it all at once as it looks to be a daunting job.  Good luck!
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    • I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, however, start making friends with vendors that might be able to help your situation. You would be surprised how some of them may "know" someone in the upper management and were unaware that your server room was in such a disarray. Also venders have sales people that all they do is make business cases for these types of environments and will give you passive pieces of information you can pass along without making it look like you are going around anyone's authority. A good vendor will essentially do all that work for you and make you look like a hero in the process.


      Good luck. That looked more like a severely unclean fish tank than a server room. I might just move onto the next company. You seem to care and have a can do attitude far more than your current position requires.

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    • http://www.temperaturealert.com/Wireless-Temperature-Store/Temperature-Alert-USB-Sensor.aspx

      $129 for this Sensor. 

      I have one of them in my server room. Works great.

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    • Sweet merciful crap!

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    • Buz wrote:

      Why are you even worrying about this?

      I am guessing he worries about it because he is a professional and it is his job.  Regardless of the stack of documentation, if something goes wrong it's his butt and his headache.
      A professional should only worry about what they are responsible for. He is responsible to raise the issue to his manager, that has been done as OP has already said. He is not responsible for his manager taking it further or deciding if something should be done... meaning, no need for him to worry. Forget about the problem - its not your problem now. So, the question "Why are you even worrying about this" is quite relevant.
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    • Jimmy9008 wrote:

      Buz wrote:

      Why are you even worrying about this?

      I am guessing he worries about it because he is a professional and it is his job.  Regardless of the stack of documentation, if something goes wrong it's his butt and his headache.
      A professional should only worry about what they are responsible for. He is responsible to raise the issue to his manager, that has been done as OP has already said. He is not responsible for his manager taking it further or deciding if something should be done... meaning, no need for him to worry. Forget about the problem - its not your problem now. So, the question "Why are you even worrying about this" is quite relevant.

      I feel like being professional is ensuring that everything you do meets certain standards, and that you apply yourself to things in your environment that otherwise might be outside of your scope. Particularly as IT people, we are often called to do tasks outside of what we think is our realm. Do whatever is necessary to get your job done and to get it done right.

      There's also a whole element of social construct to being professional too; that seems to be the side that your considering. Being respectful, following the hierarchy, etc. And I agree those are a part of it but not all of it.

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    • Tyler White wrote:

      I feel like being professional is ensuring that everything you do meets certain standards, and that you apply yourself to things in your environment that otherwise might be outside of your scope. Particularly as IT people, we are often called to do tasks outside of what we think is our realm. Do whatever is necessary to get your job done and to get it done right.

      There's also a whole element of social construct to being professional too; that seems to be the side that your considering. Being respectful, following the hierarchy, etc. And I agree those are a part of it but not all of it.

      Yeah, i'd agree mostly. All makes sense.

      If you are asked by manager to complete a task which is outside of your realm... you really should. But you should not be reporting something to your manager and then just because you don't get the reply you wanted go above their head... it's just not professional.

      Put it this way, you may thing x, y & z are important and you should fix them... but the manager is in charge of the department, it's direction and what you are to focus on. Although you think an item is priority, if they don't - you just have to deal with it. By all means raise a problem, but once its raised... let go. When the proverbial hits the fan, you may have a lot of work to do, but that wasn't your call.
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    • When you're the only one that cares it can feel like you're overreacting. But you're not. You're just the only one who knows what the problem is.

      The best you can do is make them aware of the issue in writing that the server room issue will result in lengthy downtime and costly replacements.

      In the event the inevitable happens you'll have cover. Sadly it will probably take an incident to spur them into action.

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    • If you are supposed to get any work done in that mess, then it is your problem as much as it is anyone's.  It may not be appropriate for you to start rewiring right away, but it is appropriate for you to make a strong case for someone to do it.

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    • Cabling is easy enough to fix over time but there definitely should be some sort of environmental monitoring in place.

      My last job was as Network Admin at a community college and there wasn't any environmental monitoring in our main server room. One hot July Sunday (low 90s) the AC unit went down and we were lucky enough to have a dedicated security guard who actually checked the server room while he was on duty. He called me and we moved the rack with the servers to my office (it was on casters) and thankfully we only lost 1 drive in a RAID 6 array. But it was also the networking closet for the 3 floors that housed the majority of classrooms and all of the teaching faculty offices. When there wasn't any network in those areas on Monday morning the powers that be decided it was time for some monitoring because they understood that we narrowly dodged a bullet.

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    • What a mess, makes my comms cupboard look good! Although the infrastructure around the building / offices is pretty bad, I keep hoping since our lease is nearly up that we'll move to somewhere new that I'll have a few weeks to set everything up and start afresh with everything tidy!

      Seriously though - if they ever want anything moved / updated etc. in that room how the hell are you supposed to be able to do it without taking half the building out!

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    • I had the AC trip off in a clients server room a few weeks ago.  Happened on a saturday night and we are 3 hours drive from their location.  We had no environment monitoring setup but the vmware hardware alerts kicked in and alerted me to it.  Got a few hundred emails as they went constantly over and then under the the threshhold.  Their server room is a big empty concrete bunker and it didn't get too hot and the AC was reset first thing monday to fix it.  So check your temp sensors in vmware if you have it and confirm its alerting is working

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    • As far as the wiring mess goes, a lot of that can be cleaned up with just effort and diligence.  Sure, it's sometimes easier to rip everything out and start from scratch, but I can see where the resistance is coming from.  As long as it's working, there won't be much motivation to make it look nice.

      As far as the cooling goes, you absolutely need some sort of alert system, even if it comes from the servers themselves. You should be able to set an alert when they reach the lower "warning" threshold so you have time to remote in and shut them down before they reach the higher "critical" temperature.  If they are unwilling to invest in standalone monitoring hardware, the least you can do is get a baseline temp from the servers set the lower "warning" threshold to about 10-20 degrees warmer, so you have advanced warning of a problem developing.

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    • You are getting a lot of good feedback.  I really like this Spiceworks community
      thing!  Here is my input.

      For the vipers pit of cabling, as I call it (think Indiana
      Jones in Raider of the Lost Ark, "Snakes! 
      It had to be snakes.")  That
      is a tedious cleanup.  Ask for a small
      budget for parts and Overtime to work with monthly, order the right sized
      cables, fingers, velcro and a lable maker (one of those smaller handheld
      jobs).  Then start creating order out of
      chaos.  Take pictures along the way so
      you can document your before during and after. 
      You know, like the Biggest Loser. 
      Everyone likes to see the big fat guy before the David Coperfield like
      transformation.  Only yours will be real
      and not "Magic".  This will
      also support your expectation of a good review and above average raise! 

      For the environmental monitoring, I make the assumption that
      you have mission critical activities going on in the room.  Here is what I do with all of my rooms:

      ·       
      Temps with alerts when they fall outside of set
      ranges

      ·       
      Power through the UPS with alerts when they are
      tripped

      ·       
      Water on floor, this is for rooms that have a
      split AC system.  These create condensation
      inside the room.  If the drain fails, I
      want to know I have water on the floor.

      ·       
      Smoke/Fire

      ·       
      Stand-by generator with alerts for start/stop, transfer
      switch to utility/gen, fuel capacity, oil pressure, coolant temp, battery/alternator

      What I would do first is the environmental monitoring.  After that, go snake hunting.

      Business Impact Analysis  After it is all of this, I recommend you sit down and do a
      Business Impact Analysis of your IT infrastructure.  With this you can get people to make overt decision
      on what is important to the business. 
      Without that, you will be the scapegoat for all of their unrealistic
      expectation of you and the systems.

      I’ll be happy to share a BIA with you, just give me a ring.


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    • wleemikell       - Great Response!

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    • ITWatchDogs 100 has temp, Hum, dewpoint also added water and power grid works great.

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    • kakashi (Oz) wrote:

      ITWatchDogs 100 has temp, Hum, dewpoint also added water and power grid works great.


      Can it predict the weather too!  Sounds like a good piece of equipment.
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    • Spiceworks has got your back with that!

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    • Jimmy9008 wrote:

      A professional should only worry about what they are responsible for. He is responsible to raise the issue to his manager, that has been done as OP has already said. He is not responsible for his manager taking it further or deciding if something should be done... meaning, no need for him to worry. Forget about the problem - its not your problem now. So, the question "Why are you even worrying about this" is quite relevant.

      I will direct your attention to the Abigail oath:

      I am hired because I know what I am doing, not because I will do whatever I am told is a good idea. This might cost me bonuses, raises, promotions, and may even label me as "undesirable" by places I don't want to work at anyway, but I don't care. I will not compromise my own principles and judgement without putting up a fight. Of course, I won't always win, and I will sometimes be forced to do things I don't agree with, but if I am my objections will be known, and if I am shown to be right and problems later develop, I will shout "I told you so!" repeatedly, laugh hysterically, and do a small dance or jig as appropriate to my heritage.

      Spice (6) flagReport
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    • Update, I'm currently going through this at my current employer.  We have our primary VM cluster in a colo facility (undisclosed, top secret.....).  Our backup is at down the hall from me at our Ops Center.  My backup has only the UPS alters and is missing the rest.

      With our primary being at a colo you would think that my list is not needed.  However, I would argue that you still want to know all of those types of activities going on in any server room your equipment is located. 

      I will fix my backup room first.  It’s the easiest to sell and I get a quick win. 

      The colo will be a little different.  I can get temps setup quick, the others I’ll need to work with the colo to iron out.  I’ll need to get them to send me alerts when they have “events”.

       

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    • Joshua, you are right to be concerned.  You are showing wisdom bay asking for
      guidance on how to approach this issue. 
      There are three type of employee, those who want a check, those who have
      a career and those who have a vocation. 

      The transition from check to career is really not that hard,
      many people do it.  You start with a
      check, get good at getting the check. 
      Over time you get really good at getting the check and then you wake up
      and decide that is what you will do to earn money.  You may or may not like what you do, but you’re
      good it, you keep doing it.

      A vocation is the hard one to get.  It’s something you are passionate about.  Some people know what it is right from the
      start.  Others need to do the
      check-career thing to find their vocation. 

      Based on your request for help, you are on your way to a
      vocation.  You are seeing a bigger
      picture, what could be rather than what is. 
      That is a good perspective to have. 
      That is the beginning of a good leader. 
      Another step is leading someone to that new place.  Do it in small steps, document it along the
      way.  Then show them where they were and
      where to you them.

      Spice (7) flagReport
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