Thursday 1 April 2010

Outsourcing of server management

It's like in the old Cobol days. When you were working at the Automation department of the Dutch Tax office (I got this from past co-workers that were some older than I), you worked in Apeldoorn in the east of the country, but the datacenter was in The Hague in the west. A distance of about 300 km.

You coded your Cobol on punch cards. And if you were smart then you indexed your lines. You had to do a visual code check. The punch cards were put in a box and sent by courier to the datacenter in The Hague. There the cards were 'loaded' to the mainframe and if you did your visual code checking well it compiled and executed. And then you got your output back by courier.
If the box fell of the cart, you were happy you indexed your code lines. Because then the cards could be fed to a punch-card-sorter.

That's about how I feel right now. I created a script and developed a postfix configuration. But it has to be put on the Linux development machine by a system manager. Although it's a development-server there are some good reasons to not give me root-priviliges to the development server.
And since postfix runs as root, you have to be root to change the config-files. But because I do not even have a normal user-account I cannot read the logs. The script is put in a non-root-non-postfix-useraccount. But I can't update the script myself.

So, I have to do a change and now we wait until the feedback. This already goes on for days, a few weeks/months if I include the requests for accounts and initial server setup. And that for something that could be solved in a few hours (if I exclude the requests for accounts and initial server setup), if I could get my own fingers at the keys.

But so be it. The server management here is not really 'outsourced', but it is at another geographical location. In another city. And done by other people that are also busy with other tasks. They're helpful. They really are. But the overall duration is the price the organization, the customer is paying for these policies.


Noons said...

We found all that out - and a whole lot more - 35 years ago, when "service bureaus" were the be all end all of IT.

The wheel turns and a bunch of idiotic management with less brains than fits in a pinhead find it a great "investment" to throw away in-house human capital!
Ah well, it'll turn back again. Inevitably.

People who are silly enough to ignore history are forever condemned to endlessly run around in spirals.

Anonymous said...

Apeldoorn-Den Haag 300 kms ?? If you go via "The Afsluitdijk" perhaps ...

Martien van den Akker said...

Hi Milco,

You're right. According to Google maps it's about half of the distance.