Emerging Tech

Server Room Nightmare Challenge 2010 winners announced

Bill Detwiler asked TR members to submit their photos of nightmare server rooms they've encountered. TechRepublic editors picked our top three, but it was hard!

In September, I asked TechRepublic members to submit their photos of messy, chaotic, or just plain scary server rooms for the first TR Dojo Server Room Nightmare Challenge.

The response was amazing! Over 30 members sent in shots of wild wiring, hanging hardware, and server rooms filled to the rafters with everything BUT networking equipment. Our editors had a tough time picking the top three, but we did our best.

So without further ado, here are the winners of our Server Room Nightmare Challenge 2010. As promised, these three members have earned a little TR swag for their effort. And for having to support these IT catastrophes, they deserve it.

Be sure to check out the other entries in our gallery of Real-world server room nightmares.

1st Place

TR member Luca claims the glory with this lovely scene.

2nd Place

It was a photo-finish with this horrendous hanging garden of cables and equipment from TR member Handyman.

3rd Place

This landscape from TR member Tony B. won third for sheer weight and amount of spaghetti cabling!

2011 Server room nightmare challenge

Thanks to everyone who sent in a photo. Be sure to check out our gallery of  We'll definitely run this challenge again next year, so save those pics!

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

17 comments
dean.h
dean.h

I feel much better now :)

tecguydomain
tecguydomain

How about a wireless sever room to solve this problem.

SwissJon
SwissJon

WHY do people insist on using cables that are clearly too long? When I was working in London 2 years ago, one of my clients was moving offices, they had a new server rack installed, a 42U, and the company that was tasked with the job used 2m cables for EVERYTHING, even though the switch was right next to the patch panel. Talk about spagetti in the making. I advised them against it, but they decided to trust in the installation companies advice.. Thankfully they are no longer my client. On a brighter note, one of my other clients has offered me 2 weeks wages to come in one weekend and sort out their cabling. (It needs to be done by Monday Morning, so I will be working through the night) We will get sufficient 1/4, 1/2 and 1m cables to patch everything, and then use the shortest cable that allows us to patch without stretching the cables. That way, tracing back is easy, moving cables about is easy, and keeping them tidy is easy.. Job done.

anggwaponi
anggwaponi

i think the 1st Place from TR member Luca who claims the glory with this lovely scene in my own point-of-view is not a server room but a stockroom or storeroom or like a warehouse or all the industrial left-over are being put or save and ready to be used next time around:)

gypkap
gypkap

I have no picture, but remember seeing a closet that contained ALL of the hardware that my ISP used to run a bulletin board business. No cooling or other venting, either. That closet's temperature was close to 110F, but strangely enough the ISP didn't crash.

medfordmel
medfordmel

...but, isn't it a bit difficult to refer to those photos as "winners?" Let's not encourage this behavior!

robertog169
robertog169

LOL wish I had seen this contest earlier...I have quite an assortment of disasters whose pictures I could have submitted. Nice cabling btw, hehe. SHAME ON YOU! *shakes finger*

learn4ever
learn4ever

Hoarders are working in IT now! If you haven't used it in the last 6 months and it's worth less than $100... throw it away! That includes old PCs! And the wiring... well, we've all had to tidy up a patch panel, but only proactive discipline prevents that bird's nest to begin with.

steve
steve

Nice idea, Jon. All those short cables of just the right length to reach. But what happens when you add an extra switch, or move some people about? You'll find your short cables dont quite reach, but those 2m cables will easily go anywhere in the cabinet. Just a thought :-)

pcteky2
pcteky2

That was my first thought on viewing the pics. I don't see any server or for that matter any computer that appears to be plugged in and running in that pic. I also don't think that I see any patch panels either. It's like a picture was taken and then cropped to cut out what the picture REALLY is.

mcbinder
mcbinder

I was going to write the same thing. There are two visible PC that have no power cord attached and an HP box. I don't see any PC in there that is powered up to act as a server. Also, there are very few CATx wires. There is a lot of junk though. #2 look like a server ! mcb

steve
steve

Server room patch panels are almost always big balls of spaghetti because moves and changes are invariably done in a rush. We use whatever cables are to hand, and over time the cabling becomes 'untidy'. I've seen server rooms which are things of beauty, everything colour coded and neatly installed, but in those rare cases its where someone is tasked to do exactly that and virtually lives in the server room. For most others its a matter of getting it done in the shortest time with the minimum of disruption to the users and get the hell out of there. Ideal World or Real World? You choose.

SwissJon
SwissJon

Great idea learn4ever... Let's just mess up this planet that much more for the sake of a tidy server room.. "If it hasn't been used in 6 months and is worth less than $100 throw it!".. Jeez.. Then when the auditors come round once a year and ask what happened to it all, then what? And what about those things that aren't needed much, or old, perfectly good monitors/pc's/laptops/switches that are used as emergency replacements if something fails? No.. Throwing something in the bin and buying new ones when you need it is FAR worse a crime than a messy server room in my book. If you want to throw something, take it to your local budget computer shop.. They may make a profit out of it, and at least the item gets a few more years of extra life before being dumped or recycled. Recycling starts with extending the usable life of something, not melting it down so that the constituent parts are reused.

Al_nyc
Al_nyc

You keep extra cables in various lengths for those occasions when you need to move things. Any major move that requires a lot more than a few extra cables will be planned far enough in advance for you to buy new cables of the right length. Not a big deal.

dward0
dward0

But the @#$% lawyers put a stop to that... too much liability if someone gets hurt by a piece of equipment that I GAVE TO THEM FOR FREE! They misuse the gift and I get sued. WHAT?!?!?!?