So, the wife and I were talking the other day (one of those awkward moments when the house is quiet….you know, creepy quiet) and I was asking her about some of the daytime shows she watches. Specifically, I was curious as to what the allure was to shows with tons of drama (I won’t name names….safer that way) but somewhere along the way she asked me why I wasn’t interested in allot of drama. “Well, because I deal with it so much I guess….”, to which she replied, “Uhm…..no, you deal with computers.” Oh, how I chuckled to myself; If only she knew……And that’s why I thought up this article; to explain to folks to happen across this blog and wonder, “What the hell sorta drama do computer people deal with? I mean, they deal with computers, right? Computers don’t have drama.” Yeah………………….Right. Those folks have never been in a situation the likes of which I am about to explain; and those that have, will nod in agreement with me on a single point; we know drama.
See, I don’t know about you, but nothing is more
adventurous dramatic, more dangerous, more stressful, and more…..whatever, then getting handed a environment that lacks everything, including documentation! It’s one of life’s greatest mysteries how these things happen, and we’ve all been there: It’s a mission critical application, running some sort of core business function (been doing so, quietly, for eons)…..and the environment is running off of what could possibly be the oldest desktop/franken-server ever…….Oh, and the previous guy, who was also the finance person and application developer, he didn’t write stuff down, just kept it in his head, no worries because, you know, it’s rock solid….until today…at 5pm….when it decided to pass on.
And now we pan the camera back to you….packing your bag, looking forward to a weekend destined to die a slow death in what will become a nightmare of puzzle solving the likes of which General Hospital and House would envy. Because you’re the IT guy – you can fix it!
So, see…we know Drama!
What does this have to do with anything? Well, much like those soap operas of yore, most of these problems can be solved with due diligence, planning and foresight. The two biggest items I usually see are:
- Documentation (I know, I know; I hate it as much as the next person, but come on, it’s a required evil and you’ll be the better for it, I promise) really does come into play here; 75% of what comes up for me in aging environments can be resolved with proper documentation (just like most problems on the soap operas can be solved with wills or life directive papers…).
- Proper planning, building and maintenance of the environment is also crucial (Look, I know mgt wants you to run that application on a single, depreciated server that came from storage and smells like it was in service when you could smoke in a data center – and you might want to give in to it – DON’T if you can help it; remember your job is to build the best you can, not just pinch the pennies like they would want).
I promise, that much like those people on the daytime soaps, if we did a little prep work, a little more planning, and allot more documentation we would be in better situations in general – hopefully not working a weekend because someone didn’t write down key pieces of information on a 10yr old environment.