We've all been in a situation where the solution to a major problem seems impossible. That's frustrating enough. But to have the solution in hand, ready to deploy -- yet inaccessible due to some minor, piddling keyboard translation issue -- that's a special circle of IT admin hell.
Just as enraging are the flashy elements in some BIOSes that add to the misery. When working through remote KVMs, even through links with sufficient bandwidth, spiffy ASCII animations in BIOS screens are the work of Satan. That little scrolling bar at the top of some BIOS screens does nothing -- literally. Yet it makes navigating through the BIOS terrifically unpleasant if you're not sitting in front of the server with a monitor and keyboard due to the excessive lag introduced by the console server trying to draw the animation.
Whenever I find myself in a situation like this, I ponder the world we live in. On the one hand, we have the handy functionality of full-on GUI remote consoles; on the other, those consoles are completely hamstrung. It's almost as if no one thought about remote management when they coded these tools. In fact, I'm sure no one did.
Unfortunately, there's no way to fix these problems -- other than to hope that those who inadvertently caused them will smarten up and release new code with fixes. You can't even really test these scenarios, since they seem to pop out of nowhere and may well arise from a tiny bug in a firmware update of a device or console server. But the tiny nature of such problems belies their massive ability to lengthen problem resolution and damage the mental health of the admin currently dealing with them.
So the next time you suddenly find out that the only serial terminal app you have handy can't generate a break sequence on a router, or you find it impossible to issue a Stop-A on an Sun Oracle box, or your mouse gets pegged to the upper-left corner of the screen and refuses to move other than to swoop down and right-click on the Start menu every few seconds, remember to breathe slowly, count to 10, clear your mind, and start collecting doorknobs.
This story, "Dealing with the system console from hell" was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.