Shark Tank: Is this what they mean by hot technology?

It's a hot summer day down south -- temperatures are in the 90s. So this IT pilot fish is glad he works in a nice air-conditioned data center.

But this particular day, the maintenance department notifies him that the building's generator has a faulty part that must be replaced. The work will start at 5 p.m., and the generator should be off-line for an hour or two at most.

And the data center's UPS? "The UPS will be directly connected to the main power grid, so it should be fine," the building manager tells him.

Not a problem, then, fish figures -- the UPS has enough battery life to power the data center for more than an hour. And with the sun shining and no thunderstorms forecast, the chance of a power outage is slim to none.

"At 5 p.m., the building goes dark," says fish, "except for my PC and the data center systems. I check the UPS, and it's purring along nicely."

But as fish returns to the computer room, he notices that the temperature in the halls is rising.

"Fearing the worst, I head to the computer room. Sure enough, the temperature is rising about five degrees every five minutes," says fish. "And it's over 80 degrees already."

Fish loses no time in explaining the problem to the building manager. But he's out of luck: Turns out the air conditioners are directly attached to the part being replaced, so they had to be shut down. And they can't be brought back up until the repair is completed.

Fish dashes back to the now-sweltering computer room. "The systems, now at critical temperatures, begin paging, e-mailing and beeping, warning the systems administrators of their imminent failure," says fish.

"I and the other administrators shut down all nonessential systems and use personal and industrial fans to provide airflow through the computer room."

A nerve-wracking hour and a half later, the repair is complete and the power returns.

And the building manager, stopping by to give the all-clear, tells fish, "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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