Tape Environmental Analysis

Too often I am asked to assist with a problem described as hardware or software problem and discover the problem is something quite different.  This generally comes from two basic concepts.  The first is that the 'problem' being seen is often a secondary or triciary symptom and the earlier symptoms are either not seen or ignored as not relevant.  The second is a focus on an area that conforms to what the person working a problem 'sees'.  A hardware person may focus on a hardware problem and a software person may only see a software problem, or more likely the hardware person sees a software problem and the software problem sees a hardware problem.  The result is the 'real' problem is not being addressed.


I take a holistic approach to analyzing an environment.  Simply, I look at both the 'trees' and the 'forest'.   For example, I once analyzed a data center in France that was having long term disk problems.  Stepping back from the disk problems with a certain string of disk drives, I discovered that three prior vendors had problems with their disk when placed in the same piece of floor space.  When moved elsewhere in the room the disk ran better, but still not as well as would be acceptable.  Within 60 minutes of walking into the room, I temporarly fixed the problem for all the disk subsystems with some cardboard and some duct tape.   The problem?  All but one air supply vent in the room were closed and all the cold air was blowing directly into the 'problem' disk subsystem.  Opening the other vents and building some temporary deflectors allowed the room to reach a proper temperature in all areas allowing all disk subsystems to start performing to specifications.  Within a few days, the temporary deflectors were replaced with permanent metal ones.


The same misdirected focus happens within many, if not most, environments at one time or another.  Why?  We are simply human and we often see what we want or what we know.  As an outside viewer, I can often observe what is not being seen locally.  If your environment  seems "off" or you are not seeing what you expect, contact me and we can discuss an action plan.   Terms are variable with the situation and activities required.



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