Where are your blind spots?

Where are your blind spots?

Posted on August 28, 2007 0 Comments

I have this fantasy that I'll quit this labor of love here at Progress, and start a real career selling t-shirts with street-signs-that-would-be-funny-as-t-shirt-sayings. Always on the lookout for that breakout sign, today I found one to share.

I drove by this big rig with a sign on the side, behind the driver's door, that said "you are in my blind spot." I thought, how funny would it be if I wore that on the front of a t-shirt when I did my next product presentation? (Answer: Very funny!)

In the car with time to think, I thought about that developer at a major bank I was working with who knew his blind spot, but seemed helpless to avoid the resulting pain.

Fact is, he had two blind spots... one he knew about and one he didn't.

He knew that there were developers using his services as his project wrapped up. On project completion, his hardware was reconfigured and reused. He knew those developers were there but didn't know exactly who they were. He warned those he could that his services were going away, and gave them the new production locations. They were "too busy" and either didn't read their email, or chose to ignore the warnings. My client budgeted a whole week to deal with the expected disruption.

A couple of days before shut-off, my client feverishly tracked down service consumers, visiting them in person to help with the migration. Even so, it still took three days post shutdown for things to return to normal.

All told, a week lost for a problem he saw a mile away. It was just that the root cause of his problem was in his blind spot. For my client, finding out who was using his services involved lots of "grepping log files," and begging IT to help him track down IP addresses.

Similar problems occur on a larger scale, but larger scale problems don't have as convenient work-arounds. Alistair Croll over at Coradiant points out that the recent Skype failure is indicative of, "how complex systems can fail in unexpected ways," as a result of intertwingling of the Internet. I fully agree with Alistair, and point out that spreadsheets and databases can be used to manage things on a small scale, but large scale systems, like enterprise SOA, require automatic intertwingle-awareness.

SOA What? Well, a lot of time could have been saved if my client didn't have his second blind spot. The blind spot that whispered in his ear, "you don't need runtime governance until you're in production."

See, if he had deployed the Actional software (yes, a shameless plug) he had already purchased into his development environment to automatically and dynamically discover his service consumers and SOA-wide dependencies, he would have known exactly who was doing what. Even better, he could have transparently routed them over to the new environment with them none the wiser.

Without this second blind spot, he would have saved over a week of time, and, from what I saw, an awful lot of Tums.

david bressler

View all posts from david bressler on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.


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