Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My Window -- Let Me Show You It

We have a set outage window at my company.
Every Sunday between 5 and 10pm, we can do whatever patches and upgrades and fixes we need to do.
All the users expect this outage, and none of them is surprised to get booted off the servers.
On Sunday, I needed to apply some patches manually to a few servers. Our automated patching tool has been disabled and the guy who normally patched the servers was not available to do them.
I logged into the first server half an hour early, downloaded the patches and placed them in a network folder so that I could run them on all the servers.
I applied the patches at exactly 5pm. It was beautiful. There was no error message and I was able to reset the file preference which the Microsoft patch broke.
I can honesty say that of all the patches I've ever applied, this set was firmly in the top 50 in terms of smoothness.
I logged out of the server and moved on to the next.
Login: Fail
Not like "Your password is wrong" fail, or "You do not have rights to login" fail.
Like "Unable to authenticate" fail.
My login information was not moving past the server login screen.
I used my own account instead of the administration account.
I used the administration account with a purposely bad password.
I used a totally made up account with no password at all.
The error message never changed.
Someone, somewhere, had turned off some authentication functionality as part of the same 5pm to 10pm outage window I was using. This is fine. This is the time we are all supposed to use. It just prevented me from doing my job for 5 hours.
I went to email the people in charge of that part of authentication. Unfortunately, email was down as a part of the same 5pm to 10pm outage window.
I kind of got a little twitchy at this point.
See, process is supposed to help us with junk like this. Process coordinates our I.T. efforts and forge us into a shining sword of productivity and efficiency.
Or, in the case where we all share the same outage window, it uses the same sword to cut us all off at the knees. Productively and efficiently.
In the end, I had to actually drive in to work and apply the stupid patches by hand, using time-honored techniques brought over from the Old Country.
The end result is the same, I suppose.
Security is assured across the enterprise thanks to the tireless dedication of nerds committed to working odd hours.
And bill for it.
As though I had been personally wronged, somehow.

1 comment:

Darrell said...

Weird idea, But maybe you guys should schedule things. May have some meeting on current events instead of events that happened 6 months ago.
WooT Billable hours!