The author of this piece is Jack Harvey, harvey(at)eisner.decus.org, and it was originally published under the title ”The Immortal Murderer” on January 18th, 1989 on DECUServe, the DECUS member bulletin board.
I have decided to preserve this piece for coming computer generations. Have fun. The date at the end of the story that is mentioned is also known as ”the black Monday” when the financial markets came crashing down. Hold that thought while you read through this piece.
VAXen, my children, just don’t belong some places. In my business, I am frequently called by small sites and startups having VAX problems. So when a friend of mine in an Extremely Large Financial Institution (ELFI) called me one day to ask for help, I was intrigued because this outfit is a really major VAX user – they have several large herds of VAXen – and plenty of sharp VAXherds to take care of them.
So I went to see what sort of an ELFI mess they had gotten into. It seems they had shoved a small 750 with two RA60’s running a single application, PC style, into a data center with two IBM 3090’s and just about all the rest of the disk drives in the world. The computer room was so big it had three street addresses. The operators had only IBM experience and, to quote my friend, they were having ”a little trouble adjusting to the VAX”, were a bit hostile towards it and probably needed some help with system management. Hmmm, Hostility… Sigh.
Well, I thought it was pretty ridiculous for an outfit with all that VAX muscle elsewhere to isolate a dinky old 750 in their Big Blue Country, and said so bluntly. But my friend patiently explained that although small, it was an ”extremely sensitive and confidential application.” It seems that the 750 had originally been properly clustered with the rest of a herd and in the care of one of their best VAXherds. But the trouble started when the Chief User went to visit his computer and its VAXherd.