As I rummaged around in a few backpacks searching for a USB-to-serial converter, I suddenly recalled that I had "donated" my stash of them. I had left them in various places running serial consoles for cutover tasks and back-end access during data center migrations. I could look all I wanted, but I wouldn't find them. They had been absorbed into the IT infrastructure.
Often, small-but-critical parts slip from personal stores into the corporate maw. Sometimes I feel like a teacher who has spent his own money on school supplies -- and I'm certain I'm not alone. Who knows how many IT folks have used their own gear to get projects completed on time or to save the day while troubleshooting, only to leave those parts behind because they've become indispensible?
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For a consultant like me, the list includes miles of Ethernet patch cords, serial cables, and dongles, not to mention modems, RAM, and even hard drives in a pinch. All of these were absolutely necessary for midnight problem solving, when the priority is to get it done and count the wounded later. I can recall several times when I've cannibalized an older desktop system of mine for old DIMMs to replace failed RAM in Cisco firewalls, for instance.
As for IT staffers -- who do you think invented BYOD (bring your own device)? IT folks have always had trouble with purchasing restrictions, so they bring their own laptops and even desktops to the office for business purposes. Or it could be the random Wi-Fi access point needed for some business reason or other that winds up being used by everyone. And when an expensive edge switch bites the bullet at 10pm, someone may go home and retrieve a switch they happened to have, just to get by for the short term. It winds up sticking around for a few years.
In smaller shops, I've seen an old desktop system someone brought in from home during an emergency dutifully running as a domain controller. Or you might notice a consumer-grade NAS device with two 500GB disks in a RAID 1 holding down the fort as an "emergency" storage array -- for the past year.