Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Series of Tubes

I'm the IT guy for Mrs Elliott's company. Which is kind of like putting a basset hound in charge of financial planning. I do what I can for her, help with the occasional hardware or software glitch by generally hacking my way through the problems and using Google a whole lot to find out what others have done with similar issues.

Yesterday, the bookkeeper was unable to open the company file. The first thing I found was that the network was down. You could browse the Internet from any machine, but none of the machines or file servers were visible in the network.

The only thing I could think of doing was turn off every machine on the network, then bring them back up. That's like ten computers, and a few printers and other network-connected peripherals. This would be quite a disruption to the day's business.

So I called Paul the Computer Guy to ask for advice. Paul wasn't there but his lieutenant, Susan, suggested that I cycle the router, and if that doesn't work, turn off all the machines on the network then bring them back up. Ugh.

I reset the router and Hey Presto! the network became visible again. The bookkeeper would be able to find and open the file.

Except he couldn't because the file server was filled to capacity. It has a 1 terabyte hard drive which was suddenly 100% full. I had to figure out what was chewing up all the space and it turned out that the backup directory for one of my machines was huge.

I deleted most of the old backups and re-configured the backup settings on the rogue machine to take up less space.

Problem averted, but not solved, because no matter how I set things up, that drive is going to be full. We're gonna need a bigger file server.

At the same time, another series of tubes were being worked on: we had a couple guys in the backyard, in the rain, installing new sprinklers for our flower beds. The flower beds are an ongoing project, and I hope to bung a whole bunch of new plants into them shortly. More flowers for Mrs Elliott.

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