Raised floor

Be sure you know what they are asking, , ,

When I was an IBM Systems Engineer (SE) in the early 1980’s, I was asked to install a data collection system for time and attendance and other data collection activities in a large hospital.

I had installed several before so my Sales Rep partner asked me to conduct a walk through to plan for this hospital’s new technology installation.

As we enter the hospital, we head down the hallway to where the IT organization resides. We walked by one door with a ramp leading up into the room. The door had a sign that said, “IT Personnel Only” .

I guessed that this door led into the IT organization area and didn’t think too much of it. We continued down the hallway and around a corner to the CIO’s office.

We arrive at the CIO’s office and I meet him, the three of us chatted briefly, and then he asks the Sales Rep a strange question. He asked, “Jim, does Mike know?”

I had worked with Jim for two years and I always knew when he was up to something because of the mischievous chuckle and grin he made. When he laughed at the CIO’s question, I knew there was something going on.

Jim answered, “No, Mike doesn’t know.”

You guessed it, I asked both of them, “What is it that I don’t know?”

There was no response other than an indication I would find out soon enough.

The CIO asked if I wanted to take a tour for my installation planning needs, and we all set off to tour the hospital.

The first stop was to go into the Data Center which was just outside the CIO’s office. As we approach the secured door, I noticed another ramp just like the one I had seen in the hallway leading up into the Data Center.

When we entered, everything looked pretty normal, , , like many other Data Centers I had seen before. This is when the CIO proceeds to tell me , , , the rest of the story.

When the hospital purchased a new mainframe many years ago from a different company, the Sales Rep discussed the physical planning needs for the new mainframe with the former CIO who was there at the time.

One of the requirements was to install a raised floor.

The mistake he made was that he did not ask the former CIO of the hospital if he knew what a “raised floor” was.

Three weeks later the Sales Rep comes back in to check the physical planning progress as he and his company prepare to ship the new mainframe hardware to the hospital.

He was surprised at what he found. In fact, we were told that he didn’t know whether to laugh, be sorry, or disappointed in what had happened. He probably felt all three emotions.

You see, the former CIO not really knowing what a “raised floor” was, ordered a 2-foot slab of concrete to be poured into the Data Center.

He literally raised the Data Center floor, , , which is why they have to have ramps leading up and into the Data Center room.

So, what I learned about what had happened and what I was really seeing in the hospital’s Data Center was that there was a “raised floor” on top of a “raised floor”, , , a raised floor to hide the cables on top of a slab of concrete

The morale of the story, , , Be sure you confirm that the other person understands what you are asking!

a raised floor on top of a raised floor

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