Taking Your Time? Stealing, Actually.


Bill Cole

Bill Cole – Competitive Sales Specialist,Information Management, IBM

In a previous life, I spent weeks installing some scarily complex software solutions including operating systems, databases and applications.  Notice I said weeks.  Every install started the same way.  The client pointed to one or more machines and a pile of boxes.  “Let me know when you’re done.”  And that was the norm.  Everybody took the same amount of time and used their own standards.  The only test was whether or not the product worked.  If your installation was different and the software worked, that was okay.  Talk about silly.  Maybe embarrassing is a better description.  I encountered situations where I couldn’t do an upgrade and others where patches couldn’t be installed because the install wasn’t what the software expected.  This was completely untenable.  It was so untenable that the company nearly folded because of it.

The solution?  I designed and created a very simplified install process.  So simple, in fact, that I actually did three full installs in one afternoon.  One afternoon!!  And they all worked.  Since I knew what was happening behind the scenes, I was impressed.  Pleased.  Proud.  You’re thinking big boxes, right?  Nope.  Entry-level boxes.  Did I mention that the process installed software across multiple nodes?  The process installed different bits of software on three nodes.  Database on one, application code on another and the batch facility on another.  You might recognize the description and process.  A full install occupied nearly 100GB of disk for the executables and a similar size database.  Not a trivial experience.

Does that sound familiar to you?  It should.  It’s the same thing we’re talking about with PureSystems.  Patterns.  Get it done quickly.  Get it done right every time.  This is what PureSystems patterns give you.  Consistency.  Speed.  Reliability.  When it’s done, it’s right.  You don’t have to poke with a toothpick to see if it’s done (for the baking enthusiasts out there).

The number of patterns available for your PureApplication grows every day.  More than 200 are now available.  And those are just from IBM.  What sort of patterns?  Typical stuff.  WebSphere, MQ, and DB2 to name a few of the patterns.  But that’s not really very interesting, is it?  It’s those times when you have to install a dozen products that all depend on each other.  The complex installs, the ones with multiple products that have to be installed in just the right order and then have the right communications set up between them, keep us up at night, right?  I mean over the weekends and holidays.  Ugh.  No turkey for you!  Patterns keeps you out of the office and serves up the turkey.

Production support isn’t for the faint of heart.  We don’t get holidays.  We don’t get weekends.  We get to work in the wee hours of the morning.  Been there.  Lost the sleep.   That’s why I’m a fan of patterns.  Pre-built, pre-structured software installs.  I know what I’m getting.  You can add your tweaks once you have the base install done.

I’m a hands-on sort of guy.  I’ve installed every kind of software you can imagine and I’m proud of that.  I even invented ways to install some insanely complex products while seated in front of the customer.  (You know, never let ‘em see you sweat.)  I love the good challenge.  Once.  Solving the same problem over and over seems mind-numbing.  Or just busy work.  I like to think I have better things to do.

You’ve installed software that works some times.  Other times it won’t.  With no clues as to the problem.  Silly, eh?  This is the sort of problem that patterns solve.  You know the software will work.  First time, every time.  Get it installed quickly.  Not the days or weeks I described above (and below).  Hours.  Maybe minutes.

Spend your time on the building applications and working with the business on improving the rest of the business.  Maybe even take a class.  Gasp!  Or teach one.

Finally, a good friend was sent to NJ to install the software I described above and I was there to make sure he got off to a good start.  Donnie quickly demonstrated that he knew what he was doing; so much so that the CEO essentially kidnapped him and kept in NJ for three weeks while the install was completed.  It was a terrifically complex install.  After all, people who actually knew how to install this software were few and valuable.  The client sent roses to Donnie’s wife since she was alone on their anniversary.  Neither of them talk about the incident after almost twenty years.  And this wasn’t the only person who had the same experience with the software.  Maybe a bit easier is a good thing.  Keep you from being kidnapped in the backwoods of NJ.

Coda: Tell me you stories about complex installs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: