The System Crash

Involves a cluster of Vaxen nicknamed Bilbo, Frodo, Merry and Sam. Dates back to the 1980s or earlier. Thanks to Sarah Hartwell for this one.

Twas a glorious dawn on the Monday morn
And the sun was shining bright,
But a groan of doom from the computer room
Said something was not right,
>From the door we could see the floor
Was spread six inches deep
Where consoles spewed their printouts, chewed,
While the Ops staff got their sleep.

For all weekend they went round the bend,
And chewed their ribbons through;
In disbelief (that turned to grief)
We knew not what to do.
With faces sour we cut the power
And began to phone around,
"We need you here," but the engineer
Was nowhere to be found.

The disk was clogged with unprinted logs
Of ten thousand blocks or more,
We hit 'reboot' and saw paper shoot
Six feet across the floor.
The printers moaned, overburdened groaned
And ground to a noisy halt,
And we took one look at the gobbledegook
And we too paused for thought.

Mid-morning neared, we had barely cleared
The paper jammed in tight
Between the lid and thre printing head
And we thought the time was ripe
To try again (no doubt in vain)
To get that cluster running,
So we turned the key and machinery
Began its gentle humming.

Surprise, surprise, before our eyes
Into life leapt SAM,
Then FRODO too, and before we knew,
Node BILBO also ran.
Then MERRY hell the net befell
Down came that cluster, crashing,
As all around, the nodes went down
And left the printers thrashing.

"Let's try  this way" the boss did say
"And now we'll have some fun"
The disk drives whirred and the first node stirred
As they booted one by one.
A seven-eight-five sprang into life
Two others followed shortly
So far so good, they did as they should
And nothing acted naughty.

The printer thumped its way through dumps
The network rose victorious
Then things slowed down, to a halt they ground
And silence reigned inglorious.
Then too late we saw disk eight,
The system disk, was ailing,
Before our eyes we watched it die,
The 'Ready' light was failing.

"Leave this to me!" and gallantly
An operator tried,
At his own risk to save that disk
Before the network died.
In stark fury he hit those keys,
Deleting by the score,
And at our urging started purging
Logs and dumps and more.

At first we sniggered, then lights flickered
And with our fingers crossed,
We saw the drive return to life -
The network wasn't lost!
We turned the switch and without a hitch,
The final node responded,
Its console clattered as DECnet chattered
And lights flashed off and on.

Twas a glorious dawn on the Monday morn
And the sun was shining bright,
And a gentle vroom from the computer room
Said things were now alright.
The cluster hummed, the disk drives thrummed
And printers stacked hardcopy
In tidy piles, so with pleased smiles
We crept away for coffee.

Back to the humour page

Pete Bevin,