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Responsibility... What's that? 2001-02-14 16:41:03
by marasmus
(Part 32767 in a series about IT companies)

This question came up today while I was talking to my supervisor...

How does an IT company expect to survive (let alone thrive) when they do not invest in the necessary basic tools to develop the IT-side of their company?

I can understand those fly-by-night gypsies who set up an AMD-K6 webserver, colo it with joe-shmoe ISP in BFE, and do shitty amateur porn for 6 months at a time, before moving the server again to another colo center... that's normally one pervert with a lot of free time who hangs out at clubs and pays some nasty slut to get nekkid and freaky on camera... For that sort of "IT company", you don't need the infrastructure or technological complexity of, oh... Cisco for example. However, if you're developing top-of-the-line, real-time interactive software which people use to sell expensive items (like planes, trains, and automobiles), You should have more investment in your IT-side of business than 3 outdated servers, 3 servers that can't run your operating system properly, and 3 programmers, none of whom are lead programmer, nor is there an actual project coordinator. The duties of the software are not figured out until after the tenth poor attempt at making some software... no syntax, standardization, or structure is required or even suggested by the upper-level, who request the software be written... everything is left at the hands of these unmanaged programmers, using entirely inadequate hardware.

I feel bad for them. I feel even worse for myself, because I have to try to support these frustrated developers' attempts to get this software going on incompatible (not to mention very poor and inadequate for production-level, let alone realtime, activity) platforms... And whenever I try to help the developers get actual tools for the project, I get told that there's no money for that sort of stuff... as if the company is based on something else, like making candy. This isn't a candy company, where a taste-tester wants a golden spoon... it's an IT company, where the business revolves, thrives, lives, and dies, based on the ability to provide a technical service properly to customers. However, it's a bottom-of-the-list concern to have proper tools to create this service. I should just accept the 'fact' that our supposed-to-be-production-servers are being used for development, with access to the machine opened wide up like an amsterdam hooker, with source code piled and hidden and stashed everywhere, while running on an outdated kernel with major root holes on an operating system that cannot support the core hardware of the machine it's on, and can never be upgraded to a newer version of the OS or kernel. These are the "production" servers. They are the mainstay - the 100% breadwinners - for our service. How do you win bread on a machine you can't fix if it breaks, or upgrade because of massive security holes? How do you leverage real-time, 100% availability services on such a machine? You Can't. You Don't. You Get A New Line Of Work. Your business has just pulled its dagger from its boot and committed suicide like a samurai.

God forbid I recommend, lest require, that these servers be replaced with servers that can actually RUN our OS? That can actually be UPGRADED? or serviced? or repaired in the case of failure? Ohhhh NO! Let's not have functional production machines! Let's just BEG someone to come and break our servers, so we have no business left at all! That's cool! That's keen! WOW! We're such smart and innovative businesspeople!!

It gets better. I recommend that the businesspeople take a new look at things. Perhaps even a new approach. Perhaps just drop all the shit and start over. They laugh at me. There's no way a Network Administrator could know anything about business. He's just worked with bunches of IT companies, and has had to work through the choices and screwups of both the successful and the failures in the industry. He can't know anything about business. If I try to point out to them that their logic is MORE than flawed... Heh. no chance in hell to get through the thick skulls of those participating in the rat race.

Will someone PLEASE kill me? PLEASE... put me out of my misery.