I was recently asked what cool “nerd” tools to have with me whenever i’m going out to do an install. Now there are plenty of times i don’t need some of these or any in fact. However if i’m walking into an engagement where i’ve gotten a lot of “I don’t know”s or “i think we have those”. I tend to bring more of the equipment. While if its just a SME or non-datacenter job i may leave them all at home. However, it’s much better to be over-prepared then under prepared. I have included links to the equipment where i can, a lot of them are from Amazon. There may be better prices, but since i’m a Prime Member, the faster and cheap shipping is why i buy a lot through them.
So here is my MUST haves;
–USB to Serial Adapter cable. This lets me console into the equipment to perform the initial configuration. Without this i’m totally dead in the water. I haven’t found one to be any better or worse then others, so use whatever one you’d like. I was recently given a cool double-headed one thats pretty neat.
-6ft Cat5e cable. The number of times i’ve needed a cable and either there isn’t any or they look like they were used to tie people up with.
–2x NEMA 5-15R to C14 cable This allows you to plug in your laptop or anything else into the hooded C13’s that are in most datacenter racks. Here is the one i usually buy, 5-15R-C14 1ft , however i have found this one just today which would be really cool to save space in your bag. 5-15R-C14 adapter
–Rolls of Velcro I refuse to use plastic zip-ties, even the removable ones. They tend to pinch cables, and when you cut off the “excess” they can leave sharp edges. I have found this one to be a pretty good price and it is nice velcro. It does say tear by hand… and while that does work, i find a small pair of scissors works MUCH nicer. Just make sure they are small enough to not get nabbed by TSA if your not checking the bag.
–ISOStick This allows me to carry all of my Necessary ISOs, and boot any one of them from a baremetal server. This has saved me a TON of time, and works really well.
Other items that have come in handy;
–NETGEAR 8-port GigE switch I‘ve used this a few times when the customer doesn’t have the upstream switch ready and i’d still like to do some of the basic configuration work.) Its just a simple stupid switch but seems to work well.
–Trendnet TEW-654TR Wireless device (This device works in various modes, as an Wireless Router, as an AP for the network or a wireless adapter for a client) This has come in handy with the above switch when i don’t want to or can’t sit right in the datacenter. This can get its power from a wall outlet, or USB ports.
–3M Gold Privacy Filter (This prevents people from eavesdropping on what i’m doing.) This is really nice on a plane, but also while on the customers site. There are times while waiting for an task to finish that we check email, etc, and don’t need people to be watching that.
-USB Stick with various software. (Unfortunately we don’t always have internet access to the environments were are building.) I’d ensure you have offline installers for all the software you might need, including things like Java & Flash. I’d also have firmware packages for all the equipment you’ll be installing