Everything comes to an end. Sev 1 panics, workdays, power supplies, beer, the client-server epoch, continents, species and even our Sun surceases eventually. Ultimately in heat death, terminus is the fundamental commonality this universe inescapably bestows on everything within it. But rather than the penultimate bummer, the ascendancy of the cosmopolitan screaming void, I find the certainty of End reassuring.
Magnetic fields rot on disk, photons leak from fiber, fan bearings wear. We forget sometimes working issues that this is just IT, not an emergency room. We Will Fix It because we always do. We will have closure of This Thing, then there will be That Thing, which will likewise ultimately be resolved. And as I get older become increasingly experienced, I’ve watched entire systems reach their ends.
Every IT system, every indispensable application and every custom process appeasing that one influential VP will sooner or later be brought to conclusion and excised. Sunsets are a matter of when not if and I look for every opportunity to hasten the demise of declining technologies. Throughout my career I’ve been a systems assassin, terminating downslope applications, servers and even datacenters with extreme prejudice and on rare occasion, glee.
Tech for the sake of more tech, or headcount, or org span is stupid. When curves trend strongly down-right, whether declines in usage, benefit, effectiveness or maintainability my ears tingle. If analysis reveals opportunity for consolidation or transition, I gather a team and begin circling above the wounded app, ready to pick its carcass clean of budget. I can feed something else which better benefits the business.
And in shutdown there are so many delicious Ends: Engineers’ final terminal logins, the last green flicker of drive lights, a final ignored alert, server extraction or even rack removal. Occasional sentimentality or even grief at the demise of once-beloved constructs is human, especially for craftsmen who tailor services to delight users. It’s hard to let go. But once born, all systems are thermodynamically coupled to time- admin time- and ineluctably degrade energy to perform work. Only opportunistic razing, exorcizing IT detritus to recover resources, lets us do less, better.
Life is short, tech careers even shorter. The animation of digital signals is artifice contriving to make IT appear real. If you could suspend entropy to freeze time there would be nothing to see. We cast spells on nothing but micro-fractions of anticipation- syncopated signal gaps devoid of particles, fields or rays. Letting go of infrastructure that’s outlived its usefulness is about fast-forwarding to the End to look back in time, back in energy to now. System ends in IT always precede the best beginnings.
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