[rescue] Perverse Question

Phil Stracchino alaric at caerllewys.net
Thu Jun 19 12:39:41 CDT 2003

On Thu, Jun 19, 2003 at 10:11:59AM -0700, Francisco Javier Mesa-Martinez wrote:
> On Thu, 19 Jun 2003, Dave McGuire wrote:
> >
> >    Well...there are reasons why those firms typically run their big
> > stuff on mainframes.
> Well a lot of the mission critical stuff is handled by stratus or tandem
> machines, not mainframes. :)

I have an amusing story about Stratus and Tandem, told to me by my first
wife, who used to work for Stratus.  For those who aren't familiar with
them, Stratus machines had redundant *everything* (well, OK, everything
except the chassis and keyboard).  It was all automated to the point
that you could open the cabinet and plug in a new disk, and the machine
would start it up, recognize the type, partition it, format it, adn then
ask where you wanted to mount it.

Anyway, it seems one of Stratus's standard trade-show schticks was to
keep one of their boxes running in the booth with the front of the
cabinet open, and whena few people gathered to look at it, the salesman
would basically say, "Hey, y'all watch this now!" and reach into the
chassis, grab a board or a power supply at random, and pull it out. 
While the machine was running.  The machine would immediately just
failover onto the other unit of the pair and keep going without so much
as a blink.

The only problem was, one day while he had an audience of about half a
dozen people including two folks from Tandem, the salesman reached in
and yanked a board, not knowing that its twin had failed.  To his
dismay, the machine immediately went down hard.  He hurriedly plugged
the board back in and, as the machine started to automatically come back
up, turned around to his audience intending to explain that this wasn't
quite what was supposed to happen, two simultaneous failures in a pair
would be astronomically rare.  Just about as he opened his mouth to
speak, though, he realized the smirks of glee he expected to see on the
two Tandem reps were missing.  In fact, they looked distinctly like the
land speculator who's just learned that the three hundred acres of prime
commercial property he made a killing on yesterday is under fifty feet
of seawater at low tide.

Before he could rethink what he was going to say, one of the two turned
to him and said in very crestfallen tones,

	"Your machines restart by *themselves*....?"

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