Implementing and Monitoring

Most of us, people from IT, forget about the post-implementation process.

It isn’t just supporting the application, but providing means to monitor the system health.

Lets say you deploy a web system and for that you have to install the webserver, the database server and your own code. You guarantee that your system will work based on several tests you have coded and perharps some techniques to restart the application in case it fails or reach some limits. But what about when your application stops because of the web server? Or the database server?

If the customer has a team to support them, it is understandable that it is this team’s responsibility to install, monitor and keep the infrastructure needed by your software. If they don’t, a failure on any of those components is a failure on the functionality you provided them.

You can make agreements, draw the component structure, etc. but when things fail, it is your software that has become unusable to them.

Other than that, as time passes, disks fill up, hardware starts showing issues (some of them are SMART – hint! – enough to provide you with alerts) and that dedicated server to a single task is not “so dedicated” anymore (again, if you manage the infrastructure you can have some control over it, otherwise their IT will have to take care of what goes where for them).

One great thing that can be done – and should be done – is documenting certain thresholds on your system and providing alerting and monitoring tools to the customer. Put that in written form and say that when certain threshold is reached they should take some corrective or preventative actions (automate it if you can!) and for other components you can show them that new hardware is needed.

We are so focused and worried with delivering things that we forget about keeping it running.

Putting things on the cloud helps reducing some of your concerns, but shouldn’t be an excuse for not monitoring and reporting things.

A last reason to monitor: know your system requirements. Do you know how much memory your system requires with 10 simultaneous users? With 50? What about 1000? What is the required hardware to recommend your customer to upgrade to?

Monitor. Report. Follow on.

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Barbecue and Birthday Party

Yesterday we had my wife’s birthday party. It was really funny!

At the beginning she wanted a party… Then last week she started saying that she didn’t want a party. And then I told her that I had already invited a lot of people. 🙂

In the end, she was eager for the party. Loved it. And the house was full for several hours.

We got really tired after the preparation, party and clean up of the house, but it was really worth it. We’d do it all over again. 🙂

Her birthday will be next week, but since another colleague of hours will have his birthday on the next weekend, we decided to push her party forward and do it yesterday.

I can barely wait for mine. 😉 (And I didn’t use to like those kind of things…)

After some time, updates!

I’ve been doing a lot of things lately.

After my annual leave was over, I got back to work and had to deal with the huge backlog. It doesn’t matter if another person works on keeping your things up to date, you still have to go there and review items that need some follow up, take notes of processes that changed, etc.

I have also been working on developing some global strategies for my projects. This takes a huge effort and a lot of time.

At home, I have been playing with Emacs, Python, ExtJS and of course reading email and news.

I have found a very interesting article on Emacs keybinds. It is worth reading it. If not for the knowledge, at least for the templates.

I still have to “play” with Protovis. It looks like a great library for charts on the web.

I also had issues – again – with some magazine subscription that I wanted cancelled after they billed my credit card on an automatic renewal. I got reimbursed and they lost a customer that is now telling everybody how they didn’t stick to our agreement of not having the subscription automatically renewed.

I had my performance evaluation last week. Lots of things to think about, other things to keep tracking. Overall, a good thing.

Looking for new challenges as well…

As you can see, there are too many things going on.

And I still want to find some time to go back playing with electronics and microcontrollers, after all, I’m an engineer. 🙂

New beer glasses

I bought two new beer glasses yesterday.

From two classic beers: Erdinger (their Urweisse beer was the one I wrote about a few minutes ago) and Paulaner.

Both glasses are tall, beautiful and very different from the ones we use here in Brazil.

Every country has its tradition and here we’re used to small glasses and sharing our beers.  In England, for example, people are used to pints and drinking their beers on their own.

Nice acquisitions to what might start as a new kind of hobby or collection…  I haven’t decided yet. 🙂

Anyway, drinking my regular beer on them made it taste better.  I credit that to the shape of those glasses…

Erdinger Urweisse

Erdinger UrweisseJust bought this beer yesterday…  Delicious.

A bit stronger than most that I’m used to drink and it is great. 🙂

Erdinger makes great beers and if you haven’t tried one, you should taste it.

In fact, even though it is stronger, it is easier to drink than most Brazilian beers.  (And this includes my favorite one: Bohemia.)

There is a bad thing, though: it is over too soon, so one bottle is not enough 🙂

The cost, here in Brazil, is also a problem: it costs from 3 to 4 times more than a premium beer.  It is an imported beer, though, but you drink one a day, not much more than that.

Sadness about giving up…

I can’t go on with my masters…  I am not being able to dedicate any time to it and it is making me suffer too much.

I have always demanded a lot from myself and not being able to dedicate enough time to this has been bothering me since the beginning.  Now that I am not being able to find even some minutes at the weekend — when I am too tired to think about mathematical equations, logic problems, processes, etc. — I have finally decided on giving up.

It all started a bit more than two years ago.  I spent time watching classes, reading books, reading articles, solving problems and equating things, but now…  I am letting it all go.

It is hurting a lot to take this decision.  But it will hurt much more trying to finish it.

I have tears in my eyes…  But the simple thought of not having this pressure that I impose on myself relieves me and makes my body relax.

The pain is not emotional only, it gets to the physical level.

I will be better letting it go…  I just need enough courage, now, to go to the university and request the cancellation and say goodbye to everyone.

I wish I had the possibility of dedicating myself to research, but unfortunately this is something I can’t do.  Somebody has to pay my bills and unfortunately that person is me 😦

Life keeps going on…