Ivory Tower Inc.

Scott Adams' primary source for material...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Cause and Effect

What a week at Ivory Towers Inc! Two disasters were avoided...one by skill and experience and the other by blind stupid luck. The causes of the disasters? I guess one has to know the nature of the disasters before one can make such a judgement.

Disaster 1: File server crash brought about by poorly configured server.
Disaster 2: Enterprise Web App crash brought about by poorly configured server.

"Poorly configured server" would seem to indicate poorly skilled server operator right? At the moment of crisis that is definately the cause and the "poorly skilled" operator should be subject to severe and immediate punishment to include beating, harsh words, and termination. But wait...doesn't one have to take a closer look? I should think so.

How about a 45:1 user to Tech support ratio. How about a 30:1 ratio when including server operators. For highly experienced support people and competent users a 30:1 ratio would be almost manageable if that's all they did. When you are dealing with folks with an average of 5 years experience doing the support and adding to that totally incompetent users one begins to see a problem. The problem is that the server operator spends a significant amount of time responding to user "issues". When the server operator is interrupted every 20 to 30 minutes it becomes almost impossible to "know" one's servers and the impact of that is the inevitable eventuality of a failure of some nature. When the server operator is tasked with providing infantile hand holding for conferences where she is expected to be available to press the space bar at the passing of each slide one can expect the operator to become disgruntled. Disgruntlement is hardly an excuse for anything however. Disgruntlement brought about by complete and total disrespect by the organization is another matter entirely.

So was the week at Ivory Towers Inc. Two server failures. Both had the potential for SERIOUS and UNRECOVERABLE data loss had the technicians not had talent and ALOT of luck on their side. The various ITEs point their fingers at the server operators and programmers. The server operators and programmers offer an altogether different finger.