The Windows server migration that wouldn't go away

In the midst of a massive datacenter consolidation, a techie discovers that the devil is in the details when dealing with a problem server

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Then it backfired. The detailed migration plan was well received -- too well, as a matter of fact. It was heralded as a model that all other plans would be judged against. Great, I had met the enemy and it was me!

Now I had to implement the monster. The first page and a half went well. One item was receiving the administrator-level IDs and passwords from Jim and testing them. This device had a secure portion that can only be accessed via local keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM). Since I was not on-site, Jim assured me that he had tested them and they worked. I documented it, and we moved on.

After more delays getting the expired maintenance and support reinstated, the unit was finally de-racked and shipped. When it arrived at our location, I proceeded with the next two pages of the plan, which included re-racking the server and connecting the KVM. Once powered on, the administrator-level ID and password did not work. I called Jim, and he was baffled. He gave me another password to try. No luck. By the time I got off the phone with him, I had seven passwords, none of which worked. I'd also discovered that Jim had never actually logged on to the secure portion of the server.

Now I jumped to the back of the seven-page plan for the contingencies. Based on the circumstances, the server was shipped back to the original site to let Jim sort it out. Again I caught up on more pressing matters while this mess simmered out of sight.

A meeting was eventually held with my superiors and those from Jim's datacenter to determine the next step. I was adamant that I would not accept the unit back without first logging in to the secure area myself. I would not take anyone's word for it.

Jim and his bosses assured me that would be possible as soon as they determined how to recover the lost password. It came out in this meeting that the server was installed by another person, no longer on our account, and Jim had been drafted to deal with it. This had been a common thread throughout the consolidation: The talent had moved on and we were left with what was left over.

Days passed and I heard they finally found a guy that knew a guy that knew The Man that built the server originally. The password was supposedly tested locally by someone Jim knew and trusted.

Right. My request for KVM access floated around for a day or two before it was discovered they did not have any KVM access to the server. One more day passed before I shipped them an IP-enabled KVM preconfigured for their network so that I could check off the box on my plan.

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