The best of the worst: The dirty IT jobs hall of shame

We've sifted through the sewage and vermin to bring you the 14 all-time dirtiest jobs in IT

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The best of the worst: The dirty IT jobs hall of shame
Dirty IT job No. 12: The human server rack The panicked call at 3 a.m. is a sad fact of life for many sys admins . But not as many are woken in the dead of night and asked to part the floodwaters, perform acts of impromptu structural engineering, or serve as a piece of inanimate equipment.

The panicked call at 3 a.m. is a sad fact of life for many sys admins. But not as many are woken in the dead of night and asked to part the floodwaters, perform acts of impromptu structural engineering, or serve as a piece of inanimate equipment.

Brian Saunier got such a call several years ago when he was a sys admin for a small Internet service provider in Georgia. An unusually large summer storm had clogged the drain outside the ISP's building, causing a foot of rainwater to flood the first floor, where the server closet was housed.

Fortunately, the servers were protected by an airtight glass door, says Saunier. Unfortunately, the storm also knocked out the power, causing the cooling system to shut down and putting the servers in danger of overheating.

The door had to be opened. To complicate matters, the machine containing the ISP's customer database was sitting on the floor of the server room, directly in the flood path.

First, Saunier and two fellow sys admins constructed a dam out of cardboard, towels, and anything else they could get their hands on to keep the water out. Then Saunier was elected to run in and grab the server before the waters reached it.

"Our plan was to open the door and run in and pick up the server, which I managed to do without incident," he recalls. "But on the way in my foot clipped the dam and the water started pouring in. I was standing in a flooded server room in two feet of water holding a powered-on server and power cords. That was disconcerting."

After about 10 minutes, Saunier's colleagues located a table that fit inside the closet, so he could put the machine down and commence with mop-up operations, which lasted well into the following evening.

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