The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our Modern World

Let me get this out right up front—this is a rant. Don't expect any rational thought here.

Anyway … at The Company™ we have a particular network issue. It's critical, but it isn't “customer screaming on the phone to get it back up yesterday” critical (although it's getting close to that).

We've ruled out The Monopolistic Phone Company as the source of the problem. That particular part of the network circuit is fine. In fact, we've isolated the problem to network connection between two cabinets in a data center (not The Data Center at Boca Raton—this one is in another city).

The problem I'm ranting about is that this particular run of cable between two cabinets involves seven companies (including us) that need to be co-ordinated to fix this particular issue.


Smirk started the ball rolling on this yeterday morning. Twelve hours later, he got a bit further, then a bit further last night. He then told me to expect a call sometime late.

It came at 6:30 am.


From my vantage point, the problem is that we don't have a straightforward network connection, since it comes through one cabinet somewhere in the data center to another cabinet somewhere else in the data center, which apparently isn't a common occurance in this particular data center. Even rarer, our connection uses VLANs, which moves us from the “rare” column to the “what the heck is that?” column (I suspect that the intermediary switches the data center is using to hook the two cabinets together aren't configured for VLAN traffic, but I won't know until we get everybody together onto the Conference Call From Hell sometime in the next few hours or so … ).

A part of me wants to blame outsourcing, but seeing how we're one of the parties being outsourced to (providing the Internet connections and some specialized routing), I really shouldn't be complaining all that much. But the sheer number of parties involved is expressly due to a whole bunch of outsourcing by everybody involved. Now, I understand the arguments for outsourcing—concentrate on your core competency and hire other companies to handle the other stuff that's needed but are outside the scope of your company, but seven companies? For what appears to be a misconfigured switch?

Our Modern World is now working

I fell asleep waiting for The Conference Call From Hell.

It never happened.

But, about 10 hours later, and the networking issue is resolved. It may be an issue with The Monopolistic Phone Company (eight parties) and another carrier (nine parties! Nine total parties! Mua ha ha ha ha ha!).

It's working, and that's all I care for.

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