About 20 years ago, I worked as a troubleshooter for a computer vendor. Since our customers were located in many locations worldwide, I traveled a great deal. When this particular story took place, I was on assignment in an Asian country that had purchased our computers to run their stock exchange.
One of the reasons I was there was to investigate why they were having a very high failure rate on components. The stock exchange had seen a huge growth in volume over the last year (rivaling the New York Stock Exchange). Because of the growth, they had upgraded their computer systems twice during the last year and were in the middle of another build-out to expand the computer space from one room to the whole floor.
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The stock exchange's systems engineers who were in charge of the computers and maintenance gave me a tour. They were very proud of the expansion, of course, but even on a quick walkthrough, I was appalled by the lack of attention to detail.
For instance, as we made our way to the computer room, I noticed they had put up plastic sheets between the computer room and the construction area to try and minimize the dust. There was no tape to connect the plastic sheets to the wall and seal the area. Instead, the plastic sheets were hung so that there were large gaps to allow people to walk back and forth between the construction and the computer room. The engineers seemed unconcerned when I pointed it out.
We began a tour of the computer room. The computers were high-power units that took a large volume of air to keep cool. As I walked past, I touched the top of one of the computer cabinets (before the era of pizza box servers), and I burned my hand. Opening the cabinet door I discovered that the air filter was packed solid with dust from the construction and that there was no air flow.
Mystery solved -- I asked the systems engineers why they were not cleaning out the air filters.
Answer: "Because if we clean them out, they will just get full of dust again."