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Comment Beats a real job (Score 1) 432

Every time I feel a bit bummed about my job, I look around at the jobs that everyone else in the world is doing and I realize how fortunate I truly am.

If your tech job sucks, find enjoyment somewhere else. There are about 16 other, non-work hours in the day. You could be digging ditches, or serving burgers, or working at the mall.

Comment Re: 92B (Score 1) 64

Nope the tax evasion is illegal

Nonsense. It is fully legal. Please quote which law, and in which way this is illegal. If it is illegal, why are companies like Microsoft and Google not prosecuted. The tax authorities are actually quite fond of prosecuting illegal tax evasion. Please don't make up your own fact just to make reality fit your emotions.

considered a plague upon the earth

Sigh. Why don't you just move to North Korea immediately. Then you will not be plagued with companies or even the concept of having a job.

Comment Re: 92B (Score 1) 64

Sorry no it is illegal they are bleeding economies out of sheer greed

Nonsense. Greed is perfectly legal. The fact that you don't like it doesn't make it illegal. In fact, you say so your self:

they have paid their lobbyists to create via corrupt politicians

If a company is following the law, no matter how that law came about, then the company is not doing anything illegal. Again, the fact that you don't like it doesn't make it illegal.

To my own comment: A company is required, by regulation, to maximize profit for share holders. If a company has the ability to legally move their money around to minimize taxation then they are required to do so.

Comment Re: Mission accomplished (Score 1) 395

Sigh. When someone has something to say about your superstitious beliefs, it doesn't automatically mean they are making stuff up: you could start here..

Now, in fairness, in 2014, German CO2 emissions fell quite significantly, but that is very, very hard to tie to energiwende, since the entire CO2 emission drop can be explained by a dramatic reduction in energy consumption in 2014. Now, this energy consumption reduction can be tied directly to a mild winter, so 2014 is, most likely, an anomaly. You can read more about that in this very eco-friendly publication. It's cool to see how they wriggle and worm to try not to put the "blame" of the 2014 CO2 emission reduction on the lower energy consumption.

There are other articles covering some of this also.

Currently, most renewable alternatives are, as the Tesla home batteries, woefully inadequate for the task at hand, at least in large parts of the world. Oh, and the Tesla home battery stuff is a sad, sad, sad joke.

Comment Re: Mission accomplished (Score 1) 395

As Germany has transitioned to having a significant part of it's energy production from renewable, its CO2 emissions have increased significantly too. For two reasons mainly: A move away from nuclear production based on a revival of the anti-nuclear religion after Fukushima. Coal fired power plants emit significantly more CO2 when run at significantly below capacity for long periods.

Comment Thank You All (Score 4, Interesting) 198

Thank you everyone who took the time to respond to my question. Reading the responses has been very insightful and a bit humbling.

I appreciate those of you who called out my tone, pointed out that I'm a whiner and even insinuated that I am not qualified for the position. What would an "Ask Slashdot" post be without one or two snide comments along the lines of, "If you have to ask slashdot, you're obviously an idiot."?

I came to the community as humbly as I could because I realized that my own ego was likely getting in the way, my understanding of what the position is might be skewed, and needing a reality check. I got it.

There were way too many questions and comments along the way to address them all individually. (tl;dr feel free to skip the rest) I will try to respond to most of them here. I hope that by providing some background about my professional experiences and how I got to where I am, others who are on a similar path will gain some insights.

A lot of people had questions about the company itself, its size, the VM to user ratios, infrastructure and other questions. Without spending all day writing about it, the company is included in the Russell 2000 Index. That makes it "medium" sized here in the States. It is a consulting company and we frequently bid (and occasionally win) jobs for the same organizations that KPMG, Deloitte and PriceWaterhouseCoopers go after. My five years at the company have been spent working in the legal technology segment. We provide electronic discovery services to some of the largest organizations in the world. Most of the VMs are application / processing VMs that churn through large batch jobs. (Think producing TIFF files of tens of millions of emails, Office documents, etc. from a large corporation involved in a dispute. Think Enron. Getting caught rigging LIBOR. Creating MBS products that send the economy into a recession...). We also have a number of SaaS solutions for that market.

The IT organization has an ITIL compliant change management process. I deal with auditors frequently. Due to the nature of litigations we are holding onto reams of personally identifiable information, confidential information, privileged information. We deal with large financial sector clients who are subjected to all of the regulations. We deal with health care clients who are subjected to all of the regulations. As irksome as auditors are, I have found that they truly do help us elevate our operations and we have been able to use audits to get capital for systems that we otherwise would have never been able to justify on our own.

When I say that the IT group was traditionally internally facing, they were. They deploy laptops, manage remote offices, keep Exchange running. Their customers are internal to the business. The prior CIO (who was moved out a few years ago) failed to properly size the "cloud" (kill me now for even using that term). Our operations completely outstripped the resources available and required millions of dollars of additional investments in storage (primarily) and compute resources. It was such a large investment that there were even rumors of the business divesting itself of the practice entirely rather than spending the money.

Before I got to my current company, I was a consultant in the (truly) small to medium sized business (SMB) market. (1-250 employees) In that life I was the primary IT resource for small companies where I did everything from design to deployment to operational support. I worked with everyone from architectural firms, to city governments, to waste management companies, 501c3 non-profits, air freight shippers, restaurants, manufacturers (things are still made in America?!?) ... a very diverse client base. I have been working with IT systems professionally since 1996 and using and building my own computers since the early 90s. (The first computer I built myself was a 486DX2/66. I am not as grey bearded as some here, but old enough to have used a 2400 baud modem and typed faster than the terminal program could transmit.)

My professional identity has been based on a mixture of my ability to deploy IT solutions, troubleshoot complex performance / availability problems, and to a lesser extent, understand the needs of an organization enough to provide the right solution for any given business challenge. I have always had full access to my environments and been completely trusted.

I am being offered the Enterprise Architect role because I have been doing the job for the practice I support. We are facing all of the challenges. "Big Data" (again, sorry about the buzzword ... Hadoop/HDFS, ElasticSearch, LogStash, blah blah blah) is a huge challenge. VDI / device agnostic computing is huge for us not just for the 'mobile workforce' nonsense, but also for data security and access control reasons. The team I work with has brought numerous great capabilities into the environment, with automated provisioning, application performance monitoring (true end-to-end transactional visibility across the entire stack), and desired state configuration being some of the biggest.

Before my team got in there, and in some cases outside of our practice, the core IT group is still provisioning VMs by hand and logging into them via RDP to install software manually. To give you an idea of how insane things are, they will not give my team access to vCenter to reset a frozen VM, but they let us develop a PowerShell constrained endpoint that we can programatically pass a machine name variable to via System Center that will reset a VM ... after we have submitted a change ticket and waited 30+ minutes for it breach the SLA before escalating it upwards for approval. But the guys who are building VMs by hand have full, unfettered to vCenter. The vCenter that does not even have DRS turned on because the guy who set it up thinks it is "too unpredictable". The vCenter where large VMs are stepping on each other at the host level because anti-affinity rules are "unnecessarily complex".

Everything mentioned in the paragraph above is indicative of the challenges I am going to face. People are feeling threatened. I am being brought in to guide the expansion of what we have developed for our practice, across the entire organization. People who have had years to get things right are going to be given one last chance to get it right.

That is not to say that everything is doom and gloom. I have a great team of almost half a dozen guys who I can rely on. There are people elsewhere in the organization who know what they are doing as well. It is going to be a huge challenge helping people develop better skills and discard old, ineffective ways of getting things done.

I realize that the EA position a great opportunity and I am going to take it. It is going to require a mindset adjustment. I am the kind of person and kind of manager who has never asked anyone to do anything that I am not willing and capable of doing myself. I ended up with a team of competent people because I had more to do than I could handle on my own, I realized that, and I asked for help. In a way, I feel guilty. It seems almost douchey. It is like that old axiom, "The higher up you get, the less real work you do." The EA position just seems too good to be true in that I am going to be responsible for so much, but not operationally accountable for implementing or supporting them.

Thank you all again for taking the time to respond. I do not have any peers in close physical proximity who are working at this level, and I really appreciate those of you who offered up your insights about the realities of IT in a larger organization.

Submission + - Need advice on Enterprise Architect position

dave562 writes: I could use some advice from the community. I have almost 20 years of IT experience, 5 of it with the company I am currently working for. In my current position, the infrastructure and applications that I am responsible for account for nearly 80% of the entire IT infrastructure of the company. In broad strokes our footprint is roughly 60 physical hosts that run close to 1500 VMs and a SAN that hosts almost 4PB of data. The organization is a moderate sized (~3000 employees), publicly traded company with a nearly $1 billion market value (recent fluctuations not withstanding).

I have been involved in a constant struggle with the core IT group over how to best run the operations. They are a traditional, internal facing IT shop. They have stumbled through a private cloud initiative that is only about 30% realized. I have had to drag them kicking and screaming into the world of automated provisioning, IaaS, application performance monitoring, and all of the other IT "must haves" that a reasonable person would expect from a company of our size. All the while, I have never had full access to the infrastructure. I do not have access to the storage. I do not have access to the virtualization layer. I do not have Domain Admin rights. I cannot see the network.

The entire organization has been ham strung by an "enterprise architect" who relies on consultants to get the job done, but does not have the capability to properly scope the projects. This has resulted in failure after failure and a broken trail of partially implemented projects. (VMware without SRM enabled. EMC storage hardware without automated tiering enabled. Numerous proof of concept systems that never make it into production because they were not scoped properly.)

After 5 years of succeeding in the face of all of these challenges, the organization has offered me the Enterprise Architect position. However they do not think that the position should have full access to the environment. It is an "architecture" position and not a "sysadmin" position is how they explained it to me. That seems insane. It is like asking someone to draw a map, without being able to actually visit the place that needs to be mapped.

For those of you in the community who have similar positions, what is your experience? Do you have unfettered access to the environment? Are purely architectural / advisory roles the norm at this level?

Comment Re:Enterprise Architecture (Score 1) 64

This is a good point. I have come to realize that as an IT professional, often times the only thing that I have power to do is to generate options, build the business case for those options (including the risks of not doing them *very key to do this step*) and then present them to the business. My job is to help the business leaders make informed decisions.

If they ultimately decide to avoid the costs and accept the risks of doing so, they only have themselves to blame if / when the risk materializes.

Most vendors who offer management / performance tuning toolsets understand these challenges. Therefore they have metrics that help demonstrate what the ROI for the tools is, how those tools will reduce CapEx and or drive down OpEx costs. Some are straight forward like "Implement VMturbo and increase your VM density by 25%" Others require some analysis, like quantifying how implementing an Application Performance Management (APM) tool will drive faster incident resolution and require less staff to troubleshoot problems. In a real life example, I managed to justify a $250,000 spend on an APM tool because it allows our sales team to prove to prospective clients that our SaaS application is better managed and has better up time than anyone else in our market segment. They have closed a couple multi-year, multi-multi-million dollar deals by being able to show that we have a 99.99%+ transaction success rate.

Comment Spend Money on the Right Tools (Score 3, Informative) 64

These days capacity planning comes down to have the right tool set for the job. I like VMturbo. There are a few others out there that will get the job done. VMturbo is nice because it is platform agnostic and can help you decide where to place workloads not only based on pure performance numbers, but also on resource cost. (For example, HyperV is likely less expensive than VMware in most situations).

It is also worth considering an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool. Being able to identify exactly where the application is slow, and whether or not is an issue with the code or the underlying OS / infrastructure will save a lot of time during troubleshooting, and also help identify rooms to proactively allocate resources to head of potential bottlenecks.

On a similar subject, a tool that provides deep visibility into the database layer helps a lot for the same reasons. A lot of junior admins make the mistake of assuming that high database server utilization is indicative of under provisioned hardware. In reality, poorly written queries will bring down even the beefiest of database servers. While you get information with the built in management tools, a dedicated monitoring platform (like Spotlight from Dell for example) will help you develop historical trends, while at the same time providing real time troubleshooting capabilities.

Most of the time the network is the last bottleneck. In Cisco shops you can utilize NetFlow to figure out where the problems are. Or if the company you are working for has money to burn, the UCS infrastructure stack is very robust and comes with a whole slew of management and monitoring tools that can be leverage to discover latencies before they impact production environments too severely.

"Don't try to outweird me, three-eyes. I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal." - Zaphod Beeblebrox in "Hithiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

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