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There's been a lot of questions centering on Software Tools for System Administrators. But I would like to know about any odd physical tools or techniques that you've used; Something that you never expected to be useful, but ended up saving the day.

I'll go first:

A Camera Phone.

An application server had a major power issue that borked the RAID. Many of the disks were offline. Before I took the plunge and forced disks back online, I took a picture of the RAID BIOS screen with my camera phone. Having the exact layout of the RAID stored safely in my pocket, I was able to reset the RAID, and reboot the server.

What odd tools/techniques have you used?

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closed as not a real question by Chris S Feb 26 '12 at 20:06

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

+1 for camera phone. They are also incredibly useful when working with someone over the phone to troubleshoot a problem and there is a long error message on the screen. I wish all remote hands people had/made use of them. – Mark Jun 17 '09 at 18:40
I've used it to document lights on the front panel and ports on the back panel (in this case, of a DEC Alpha system). – Mei Jun 17 '09 at 23:18

34 Answers 34

If you want a cheaper version of hotplug you just need a server with bonding and redundant power supplies =)

get your extension lead going to your new rack location and a network cable that will fill that length, plug them in then disconnect the localised rack power and network, move the server then plug back into the racks new network/power =)

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I had a switch go down one night after a huge surge, I used some phone cable wire to bridge the connection. Hmm I still need to get that fuse...

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A vaccum cleaner ! It's always better when you can work in clean environment or remove all the dust that jam the cooling system.

We go this one : alt text

It looks ghostbusters enough so you don't have to be ashamed while working with !

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Big fan of the camera phone over the last couple of years for documenting consoles/error lights on switches/servers. My new favorite tool to carry in my backpack is a FLIP camera. I find it very useful for documenting wire racks/trays, or remote maintenance closets that I need to have a 'view' of from my desk while on the phone with a tech. Plus, it is great to document when someone in the office goes nuts.

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