Friday, January 23, 2015

An IT Parable

Once there was a traveling salesman, he covered all the North East region for sales for a growing company. He made his living by building strong relationships with his clients, which required him to drive every day. The traveling salesman decided it was time to purchase a new car. At the dealership, he starts looking at a compact sedan. He likes that it has a blend of driving dynamics, gas efficiency, and a spacious interior.

The car has a quiet cabin for when he has to take meetings on the road and the hybrid model provides 50-mpg EPA city rating. Best of all, it comes in his favorite color of metallic midnight black with brown leather seats.

The traveling salesman racks up the miles on his car quickly, but because of his busy schedule neglects the routine maintenance of the car, doesn't follow-up on safety recalls, and doesn't follow the best practices for upkeep. He has gone 67,312 miles without an oil change.

During a hot summer day, he is driving down the interstate to a very promising client meeting that could help him make his end of year sales numbers. Although he has had some challenges in the year, this is going to give him a big boost. During the drive, he can smell a faint hint of smoke. He assumes it is coming from one of the run-down pickup trucks that are on the highway. Suddenly, his car dies, he steers it to the side of the road.

The car will not start, he calls AAA to tow his car to the dealership and have them diagnose the problem.

While at the dealership, the traveling salesman finds out that because he missed the meeting, his client decided to get services elsewhere. He is furious, and starts to blame the dealership for selling him a faulty car with defects. The dealership points out that routine maintenance was never done on the car.  Fresh oil is required to make the car run properly. It enables the engine and all the metal moving parts to be lubricated. As time goes by, oil becomes dirty through a number of ways making the oil have less viscosity. As the engine continued to run on dirty oil, friction built up and the metal parts started rubbing against each other until the engine seized up.

The car was a key component in supporting the livelihood of the traveling salesman. IT infrastructure components provide the backbone for business applications. They are vital to corporate productivity. System downtime translates to financial loss to the organization. With everything that rides on your infrastructure systems, it is critical to keep them up to date and take the time for routine maintenance; because when that engine seizes up it will have a big impact on the environment.
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