After a decade of being a Sun SPARC administrator, I never thought I would see the day that I forgot how to count.
I had been working on a long, tough project: getting a fairly complex Linux NFS cluster online. The architecture was completely new to me, but hey, it was Unix-based so it had to be good, right? We were using six screaming-fast Dell PC blades (1U's) with high-end CPUs running a lean and clean Linux kernel. The six nodes were to be front-ended by two lower-end PC servers, which would do the NFS handoff to the clients. All I needed were some additional network cards to finish up the base configuration.
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After one particularly stressful day, I received my long-awaited dual-port, gigabit network cards. I held them like cherished gold bars and headed up to the datacenter, then carefully removed each of the 1U PC servers and plugged in the cards. I loved this new blade form factor. Remembering my old Ultra 2 days, when removing a network blanking plate too hastily could result in a deep gash or stitches, I thought to myself, "Wow, not bad. No tools needed, and I didn't even draw blood."
Satisfied with my good work and the ease with which it was done, I headed down to my office to begin the configuration. The network team was there to help me set up redundancy to the switches.
Because Linux has the annoying quirk of enumerating network interfaces in an ad hoc manner, I would have to set up the interfaces at the physical level and go back and assign each to a MAC later. So my network teammate and I headed up to the datacenter to sort out which network port went to which switch.
We went to the back of the cabinet, and I counted them off. Server one, ports one and two -- check. Port one connects to server two for heartbeat -- check. Ports three, four, five, and six go to LAN/public -- check. Server two, ports one and two -- check. Port one for crossover and three, four ... uh oh. I looked at the server again. Where are ports five and six? My heart sank.
My network teammate looked at me. I looked at him. I looked at the floor. I knew I'd installed four network cards! I counted again, squinting harshly at my densely packed rack. I figured we were both getting old and must have just missed it. No such luck. My teammate patted me on the shoulder and said, "Let me know when you find it."