‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (In the Data Center)

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ IT

Not a partition was processing, not even C:>.

The servers whirr’d in the crisp data center air,

In hopes that an upgrade soon would be there;

Error codes fill’d my screen, going unread,

As visions of support tickets fill’d me with dread,

And the CIO on vacation, with switched-off HTC,

To avoid roaming charges in Charlotte Amalie –

Then from down the hall there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my cube to check on the platters.

‘Twasn’t the first time we’d a holiday crash

(I’d told them we shouldn’t use Java or Flash)!

On my way to the servers, I stumbled as I ran,

For I nearly bump’d into a heavy-set man;

So, what to my wondering eyes was so weird,

Was this nebbish curmudgeon with a bushy neckbeard.

Tho’ I’d never before seen this engineer,

And honestly wasn’t sure if he even work’d here,

He nonetheless got to work, opening the cage,

And he whistled, and shouted, in a Red Bull-fuel’d rage:

“Now, BIOS! Now, Cloudstack! Now, Citrix and Xen,

“And whatever version we’re running of Windows 7;

“To the vendor’s portal to install an upgrade!

“Don’t crash on me, dammit! I’m late for a raid!”

As when a storm cloud finally sets the sun free,

All the lights flicker’d on, brightening the DC;

And so the fluorescents, as the darkness withdrew,

Lit up the clusters – and the engineer too:

And then, as my eyes adjusted to the light,

The man came more clearly into my sight.

The company ID clipp’d to his large frame

Read simply “Nicholas” – without a last name.

His golf shirt was red, with a soy sauce stain on the chest,

Left over from lunchtime at Panda Express;

A briefcase of leather was slung on his shoulder,

And he look’d like a college student (tho’ rather older):

His eyes – how they squinted! His glasses: how dusty,

As he tapp’d on his laptop (how ever so trusty);

And I noticed, as he tended to a stack overflow,

That the skin of his arms was as white as the snow;

An e-cig hung from his neck, glowing in blue,

And the vapor it emitted smell’d of Mountain Dew.

He had a pale face, and a rather round stomach

Sticking out o’er his belt buckle, like a great hummock:

He was chubby and plump, and his waistband was sinking,

And I cough’d when I smell’d the Rockstar he was drinking;

A twitch of his eye and a cock of his head

Soon gave me to know that a server was dead.

He spoke not a word, but pull’d out a rack,

Typing furiously away with a tickety-tack,

Rerouting connections, documenting each change,

And quickly he finish’d, which such speed it was strange.

He pack’d up his equipment, strode toward the hall,

And enter’d the elevator (though it hadn’t been call’d):

But I heard him exclaim, ere the elevator shut –

“Try using less cable! It’s a pain in the butt!”

Joe Stanganelli is a writer, attorney, and communications consultant. He is also principal and founding attorney of Beacon Hill Law in Boston. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeStanganelli.

Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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