A friend of mine recently had a problem while installing a new SAN24B-4 (an IBM 2498B24, which is a rebadged Brocade 300 Fibre Channel switch).
The problem was simple: It was dead.
The switch would not power up. Swapping the power cord and outlet made no difference.
He opened a service call and got a callback from IBM support. Their suggestion?
Loosen the 4 screws holding the mounting rails.
This seemed like a voodoo fix, but the screws were loosened and voila! The switch was miraculously brought to life.
So whats the deal?
The heart of the problem is the Brocade rail kits shipped by IBM. While they have the simple advantage that they can be installed into a great variety of racks, they are in practical reality quite awful. Check out all the parts (hope you brought your screwdriver!):
It turns out they come with a huge selection of screws to attach the rails to the switch. You have to choose the really short ones (they are 3/16″ long and are #6 in the diagram above). The reason this causes a problem is that a longer screw may reach far enough into the case to potentially short out the coil on the power supply. While this is clearly documented in the install guide (and with labels on the switch), this kind of crazy trap for the unwary is quite annoying.
Murphys Law in this case is simple: If it can be done wrong – someone will eventually do it wrong.
Given how amazingly easy the IBM server and storage rail kits are to install, it bamboozles me why these SAN switch rail kits are stuck in the 1970s?
Comments and war stories welcome.