The other day we were discussing the fine points of running an IT Organization and the influence of People, Process and Technology on Systems Management and Administration, and someone brought up one of their experiences. Management was frustrated at how it would take days for snapshots on their storage and virtualization platform was looking to replace their storage platform to solve this problem. Clearly as this was a technology problem they sought out a solution which would tackle this and address the technology needs of their organization! Chances are one or more of us have been in this situation before, so they did the proper thing and looked at the solutions! Vendors were brought in, solutions spec’d, technical requirements were established and features were vetted. Every vendor was given the hard and fast requirements of “must be able to take snapshots in seconds and present to the operating system to use in a writable fashion”. Once all of the options were reviewed, confirmed, demo’d and validated they had made a solid solution!
Months followed as they migrated off of their existing storage platform onto this new platform, the light at the end of the tunnel was there, the panacea to all of their problems was in sight! And finally, they were done. Old storage system was decommissioned and the new storage system was put in place. Management patted themselves on the back and they went about dealing with their next project, first and foremost on that list was the instantiation of a new Dev environment which would be based off of their production SAP data. This being a pretty reasonable request they proceeded following their standard protocol to get it stood up, snapshots taken and presented. Several days later their snapshot was presented as requested to the SAP team in order to stand up this Dev landscape. And management was up in arms!
What exactly went wrong here? Clearly a technology problem had existed for the organization and a technology solution was delivered to act on those requirements. Yet had they taken a step back for a moment and looked at the problem for it’s cause and not its symptoms they would have noticed that their internal SLAs and processes are really what was at fault, not the choice of technology. Don’t get me wrong, some technology truly is at fault and a new technology can solve it, but to say that is the answer to every problem would be untrue, and some issues need to be looked at in the big picture. To give you the true cause of their problem as their original storage platform COULD have met the requirements; was their ticketing process required multiple sign-offs for Change Advisory Board Management, approval and authorization, and the SLAs given to the storage team involved a 48-hour response time. In this particular scenario the Storage Admins were actually pretty excited to present the snapshot so instead of waiting until the 48th hour to deliver, the provided it within seconds of the ticket making it into their queue.
Does this story sound familiar to you or your organization? Feel free to share some of your own personal experiences where one aspect of People, Process or Technology was blamed for the lack of agility in an organization and how you (hopefully) were able to overcome it? I’ll do my best to share some other examples, stories and morals over these coming weeks!
I look forward to hearing your stories!