Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Making IT Exciting Again

I was reading through Computerworld the other day and stumbled upon Making IT Exciting Again, an OpEd piece by Bruce A. Stewart. Back in the heyday of the late 90's you could come up with just about any idea for a web-presence and your company would fund it. Bruce points out that in this age of slashed budgets and trying to more with less, you can focus your efforts on business goals to make your work exciting again. Sure, you'll still be trying to keep your head above water, but you'll have fun doing it.

Mr. Stewart takes two cases in his own business where he examined risk and return to help the C levels recognize people in IT have a little smarts and know more about the business than rebooting a couple computers and make pretty websites.

My own career is a little contradictory to the respective times. In the late 90's I was working for a private telecommunications company that was expanding like wildfire. Every penny was stretched and every request for anything over $500 had to go the COO. Ask for over five grand and you met with the President/Owner of the company. You can imagine the business case we had to present when I asked for $1.2 Million to buy a Sun E5500 and 800G of disk. I got it, but the business case took my manager, a reseller, and myself about six weeks to put together.

My first project at my new company in 2000 was to move one of the two instances off an Ultra 2 with six 9G disks to its own Ultra 2 with six 9G disks. We discussed transaction and data volumes and I said on day one the U2 wouldn't cut it. A month later, we were on a 4 CPU box with dedicated fibre attached storage. Today I have about 20 boxes running about 12TB of storage on a SAN. I've had to justify it, but never had to write more than an email to get it.

Sure, I got lucky. Every time I think things are slowing down, wham, we get hit with a new project. Every day is exciting.


OracleDoc said...

I think the ability to get what you want / need falls under the catagory of being able to communicate properly and also trust.
When I go to management asking for $150k for extra storage, I make damn sure that they know exactly why and fully understand the reasons. Using that technique you'd be suprised of how deep the coffers are :)

Noons said...

It's amazing how much can be squeezed out of management nowadays. I do remember fighting like crazy for an extra Gb memory in a client's servers a year ago. Now, all I have to do is snap the fingers and bam!: an extra 4 cpus and 8Gb of memory plus a nice rounded xserve.

Does it make any of the app code run any faster? No way: all I have to do is tell the Java mob we have more capacity and they immediately "scale" 10 orders of magnitude above what we got...

Narh, what we need is a new product to develop applications. Clearly this "web-based" and "scalable" rubbish just doesn't cut it.