I’ve noticed a strange recurring habit amongst companies out there.  It’s not quite a pet peeve, but it does have a heavy annoyance factor.  And it costs companies millions of dollars.  Here’s the setup:

Take your hardware budget and invest it in a million dollars worth of equipment.  Enterprise-level server.  State of the art routers.  Heavy duty SAN(s).

Now, do one of the following with that environment:

1 – Put dozens of resource-heavy applications/databases on that box and realize you should have spent the extra couple bucks on the next level enterprise server that has the backplane to support all those systems simultaneously.  "Come on, bits and bytes.  We can squeeze through that small tunnel!  Follow me!"

2 – Do just enough configuring to get the system up-and-running and leave it at that.  We threw money at a hardware solution, so that hardware should just motor along at screaming fast speeds right out of the box.  Who cares if that SAN could get a hundred times more throughput if things are configured properly?  Who wants a network that’s consistently timely and responsive? "Uhh… huhuh.  Uhhh… huh, he said box."

3 – Give an executive a personal file server all to him/herself. "Dude, they made me an exec and check out how fast I can stream my mp3s now."

4 – Use it as your development and production box where you’re letting your young system administrator (read: low salary power user laterally moved into the position) cut his/her teeth getting to know the ins and outs of the system.  "But we spent too much money on the server to afford a sysadmin!"

5 – Use it to keep your casserole warm for the company pot luck.  "Wow, this casserole is so… warm.  Someone promote this man!"

6 – Trade it in for an enterprise server with less CPU (and the exact same backplane) to save on licensing costs when upgrading the system due to resource-related performance problems on the server.  "Who needs CPUs when we can replace them one-for-one and get cooking with cores?"

Tech Survival Tip: When you encounter any of these situations in the wild, your two best options are to either run (run far… get a taxi if you have to) or negotiate a really good severance package or an upfront bonus (or both if you’re the Corbin Dallas of salary negotiators).