>> > Problem with VMS is that it requires so few staff to keep it running.
>> > Better to have a small number of stars than a whole herd of MCSE's
>> > and a whole lot cheaper too.
>> yup, this is a real issue, it might be better for us but non-technical
>> management don't like dealing with such "stars".
>Correctamundo. Also worth adding that OpenVMS boxes tend to be very
>tolerant of being poorly configured (ie: poor SYSGEN parameter
>settings, poor UAF quotas, poor DCL, high levels of fragmentation,
>That's the main thrust of this all for me. If boxes run "fairly well",
>then let's get rid of as many staff as possible! Who cares about
>long-term thinking, preventing problems from happening in the first
>Another related thang - anyone else think there can be something of a
>'project manager *'? It must be more impressive for PMs to
>have (say) "migration of major business systems from XYZ to ABC" on
>their CV/resume than just "kept the existing OpenVMS systems going &
>ensuring their long-term health".
You betcha. My girlfriend worked in the NOC at a worldwide shipping company
that relied heavily on its networking infrastructure for competitive advantage.
(The fact that any office could get realtime info on where all the ships were,
how much container space was available, etc, made a real difference.)
They got a new VP - hmm, six years ago now - and he decided to outsource
all of IT operations including networking. There were official
announcements that outsourcing discussions were preliminary, that they
wouldn't do it if they couldn't achieve a substantial cost savings, and so
on, but in the end they decided to outsource even though there was very
little cost reduction, and what there was came mostly from non-IT
considerations. (The outsourcing company agreed to pick up the lease on
the DP center, and then sublet the parts they weren't using to other
people, which was something the main company could have done itself.)
The help desk operation moved from the Bay Area to Texas. Help desk
employees were promised they could keep their jobs if they wanted to move.
The NOC employees were promised rather good severance packages if they'd
stay until the outsourcing was complete (which was why my girlfriend stuck
around for the rest of this).
Most of the NOC employees moved to other companies just as soon as they
could. Only the ones who had a lot of time in or who had some special deal
(like the guy who covered weekends and just drove the seventy miles from
home on Friday in an RV and slept in the RV in the parking lot, or the gal
who lived across the street) stuck around. The VP who'd set up the deal
got promoted. His replacement decided, at the last minute, that the
outsourcing company wasn't technically strong enough to cover the NOC, so
they decided to keep that in house. Only now they only had four employees
left to cover 24x7, so they had to bring in a lot of contractors - not all
of whom were any good, but all of of whom were making more money than the
employees, one of whom got demoralized by that and left.
The new VP spent two years looking for a competent network management
outsource vendor, and was on the verge of signing a contract when the
whole company was bought by an Asian company, largely to take advantage of
the much-vaunted IT technology, and they installed their existing VP of IT
in his place, on the theory that somebody who'd been unable to bring their
own systems past the distribute-paper-reports-by-courier phase was just the
person to manage 24x7 interactive computing.
Things went downhill from there.
>The danger comes when senior management (often extremely ignorant -
>sometimes wilfully so) start believing the hype. They themselves will
>usually want to 'bask in the reflected glory' of a major business
>You usually notice this when production systems suddenly become known
>as "legacy systems", without there being any tangible replacement for
>them on the horizon.
>Brings up the old 'cost centres vs. profit centres' debate again.
>Never worked anywhere that the concept of 'profit centres' has even
>been *grasped*, let alone implemented.
Yes. In a massive self-inflicted wound, this shipping company took their
business-critical industry-leading IT system apart and let the lowest
bidder run most of it, in the meantime losing almost of all the people who
had any expertise in it. If they wanted to get involved in outsourcing
they should have been on the outsource vendor end, not the client end - but
because outsourcing was fashionable and a VP wanted a big project, they
gave themselves an expensive disaster and ended up acquired.
(The happy ending for my girlfriend was that she impressed one of the
more-competent contractors, who happened to be picking up some extra hours
while waiting for a big deal to come through, and he hired her at a company
whose IT he manages - at more money, not working graveyard, and with
somebody she knows is reasonably sensible and technically-knowledgeable as
her boss. She never collected the severance package - but when she bailed
after waiting for it for five years, her stomach stopped hurting. [Well,
it stopped hurting after they removed the tumor, but that's another
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