Stan’s Obligatory Blog


It’s the end of an era

Filed under: — stan @ 11:05 am

On Friday we took out our old Sun Enterprise 5000 server. This was the big refrigerator-sized computer that was the main Southern California earthquake system for many years. It was a bit of a dinosaur, as it required a special 220V circuit in the computer room to feed it. We got this system back in 1997, and this particular computer has been nothing but trouble. If they had a ‘lemon law’ for computers it would have been sent back. But we finally got it to work, and it served us reasonably well for all these years.

Still, this machine had more than its share of stupid moments. One time it crashed mysteriously. When I went in to see what had happened, one of the small heat sinks on one of the CPU boards had fallen off and fallen onto the back of the CPU board below it. That shorted out things on the second board and caused the machine to freak out and die. Another time I had a set of new memory SIMMs to put in it, and it kept failing self-test. So I ended up having to reseat the chips about a dozen times, each time having to sit through the 20-minute self-test. I spent the whole afternoon shivering in the computer room, watching Das Blinkenlights. Fun times…

So Tammer and I got the machine unbolted from the floor, and we removed the CPU and IO boards to keep as spares for the E4000 we still have. Then we wheeled the carcass out of the computer room and down to the junk-collection room in the basement. It was a lot like the last scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. We dropped the computer carcass off in a big room filled with other big computer carcasses. And thus ended an era.

Have I mentioned recently how much I like my job?

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