Friday, February 24, 2017

The Geek Closet - Netfinity Project

I was rummaging around my geek closet....

You know you have one.  That dark little room crammed with discarded tech that you haven't touched in years but you "may have a use for someday."

In there I have a tapestry of my career in IT.  From bins of cables, cards and their associated connecting tissue to stacks of hardware long since retired to "someday" status.

Someday has come for you....

About 10 years ago while working for one of my clients during an upgrade project I purchased their soon to be unused and obsolete server hardware. 

I knew what I was getting into having actually installed these servers years before.  I had some vague ideas about what I'd do with them but nothing definitive.  

For all I knew they'd never be more than impromptu jack stands but I saw an opportunity even if I didn't know what fruit that would bear.

Within a few months I did manage to find a purpose for a few of them when I went into business with a friend of mine.  But after a year the business passed away into obscurity like so many others and they returned to the geek closet.

Until the other day.

I opened the geek closet and gazed upon these once mighty hunks of iron sadly sitting idle under stacks of similarly situated techno-cruft.

No, I needed, wanted, to do something with these servers and as luck would have it I was desperately searching for new content for my IT channel on YouTube.

Thus the Netfinity Project was born.  

It's a new video series that covers my attempt to re-purpose a couple of these old servers and gives you some insight into what I consider to be the golden age of hardware and IT.  From the late 90's to the early 2000's IT was all about the hardware and the only talk of "clouds" and "as a service" had to do with rain and valet parking. 

Hardware got better because the software demanded it.  Hardware is unquestionably better now but it lives in bland, clinical warehouses far from view.  An abstraction out of sight and out of mind.  

There's something sad about that.  I remember the pride of IT Manager's throwing open the doors of the server room.  This was where the magic happened, a tangible representation of the greatness of his enterprise.  Whirring, beeping, lights flashing and disks spinning.  You could almost feel the heartbeat of business within those cold server cases.

It's worth documenting and to some extent resurrecting if I can.

Thus the video series where I go through the highs and lows of making some old IBM Netfinity 5000's relevant again.

Check out this blog for regular updates on the video series.  The first few are below.  Enjoy!