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Comment: Manage by exception (Score 1) 284

by dave562 (#46782539) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

We manage our patching process by exception. By that I mean, "bad" patches are held back and everything else goes through. I am responsible for about 1400 VMs running on 60 physical ESX hosts. We have a small subset of VMs that are representative sample of the environment. Those get patched two weeks ahead of time. If nothing goes wrong with those servers, the corresponding patches are pushed into production.

We have an exception for the web tier. Those get patched the weekend after patch Tuesday. They are higher risk due to being public facing.

We have some verbiage in our documentation that states something to the effect of, "We expect that the vendors will properly test and QA their patches before releasing them. We do not have the time to fully vet every patch before deploying it. Therefore we take the following steps to mitigate the potential damage to the environment caused by a bad patch...."

Snapshots are taken of all VMs before patching. That way in case something slips through the cracks, we can quickly roll back to a known good state.

If you need to go toe to toe with the CAB, make them provide you with a business case justification that details the perceived risk(s) and danger of not mitigating the risk. If they cannot do that, they are completely worthless.

Your counter argument then becomes, "Mitigating your perceived risk is going to take xx hours of time. If the risk were to actually occur, we would lose xx hours of time cleaning up."

At the end of the day, if the risk absolutely has to be mitigated and you do not have enough time with all of your other responsibilities, then they need to provide resources. They can do that by either assigning the task to someone else, or hiring a new employee. Ultimately that is your supervisor's call to make the business case for needing more help. All you can do is quantify the time required to comply, and then make your supervisor make a decision on what you will stop doing because you will now be dealing with the new mandate.

Try to understand where the CAB is coming from. They probably have a regulatory requirement, either because of the business that your company is in, or because of the business that your clients are in. They have to prove that they have a functional change management process. It seems like they are just going too far overboard with the process. A change management process just needs to show that people cannot make unauthorized changes to the environment whenever they feel like it. It also needs to show that changes that are made are documented. Potentially destructive changes that could impact application or service available should be discussed, or at the very least, procedures should be developed to mitigate any potential impact of a destructive change.

Meet them half way. Suggest constructive solutions to address their concerns.

Comment: Vanity Fair (Score 1) 282

by dave562 (#46774765) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

They have good, in depth coverage of current topics. For example, they were one of the first mainstream publications to give accurate, factual coverage of the financial crisis while it was unfolding. Their contributors write well and their editors are top notch. There are usually one to two articles worth reading every month, each about five pages.

Comment: Enough excuses already (Score 2) 645

by dave562 (#46684397) Attached to: Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

If people put as much effort into getting off of XP as they spend fighting the inevitable, they would not be facing these challenges right now. Microsoft has made it quite clear that they are going to sunset the product. There have been newer, better operating systems released that provide an easy upgrade path. Unless someone is running a single core processor, Windows 7 is faster and more stable than XP.

And if the newer Microsoft OSes are sooooo terrible, "There is always Linux." (Or OSX)

These "Save XP" articles are tired and played out. Move on guys. When I read these articles, all I hear is, "Whaaaaaaa. I have procrastinated for the last five years and now I'm fucked. Save me from my own ineptitude!!!"

For a community focused on OSS and Linux. For a community that has consumed Lord only knows how many terabytes of storage bashing XP and touting the glories of ANYTHING ELSE. For a community like that, one would think that XP going EOL would be celebrated with much merriment and significant rejoicing. Oddly enough, it seems that one would be wrong.

Comment: Re:Answer is totally obvious - content providers (Score 1) 490

by dave562 (#46587331) Attached to: Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

Someone would have to convert it from the physical disk into data stored on an array somewhere. Either that, or Netflix needs to invest in a bunch of DVD juke boxes.

My point is that the video files, the files themselves, are not already sitting on spinning disks somewhere. Unless the production company has them archived, the masters are probably stored in a warehouse / data center somewhere. While those files are likely "digital", they are not in a format ready to be streamed.

Comment: Re:Answer is totally obvious - content providers (Score 3, Informative) 490

by dave562 (#46586401) Attached to: Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

Are you a Netflix subscriber?

What you describe and reality are about 180 degrees opposite. The reality is that the older movies are DVD only. The newer stuff can be streamed.

My theory is that the newer releases are already digital and the distribution agreements are in place. To make the old DVDs available online someone would have to invest the time to shift them into digital format. Then there are the licensing agreements. Granted, licensing is a legal issue and not a technical one, but nobody is going to invest the time and money required to update the licensing terms for some obscure DVD that was released in 1997 because they know that fewer than a coupled hundred people are ever going to want to view it.

Comment: Pet Peeve (Score 1) 48

by dave562 (#46575455) Attached to: Big Data Breaches Give Credit Monitoring Services a Boost

Banks and credit card companies should be monitoring accounts for fraudulent activities FOR FREE. They charge account holders monthly service fees to maintain the account. A basic tenant of maintaining the account is making sure that criminals are not racking up fraudulent charges / making fraudulent withdrawls.

The whole "credit monitoring" industry is a system of a broken system.

Comment: Establish good behaviors / patterns (Score 2) 278

by dave562 (#46552695) Attached to: Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

Helping with homework is such a broad subject that stretches from answering the occasional question, to doing the assignment for the kid. Based on my limited experience, the important thing to keep in mind is helping the child develop good behaviors. Show the child that doing homework is important by setting time aside every day for homework. Be engaged with the kid and communicate with them about what is going on at school. Give them some flexibility. "What order do you want to tackle your homework in?" "Do you want to go 30 or 45 minutes between breaks?" "How much of this semester long project do you want to get done this week?"

Homework is less about mastering subject matter and more about developing good habits. Kids go to school "all day". Parents definitely work all day. Those are jobs. The people who excel in their professions are the people who put in the extra effort. Professionals who put in the extra effort usually do it because they are fortunate enough to enjoy their profession. Kids do not get that perk. They are stuck with the subjects they have to learn. A parent who comes home from work and "tunes out", implicitly communicates to the kid that doing so is acceptable behavior. The parent who comes home and helps the kid with homework sets the example that just because they've "put in their 8 hours", it does not mean that they are done with their responsibilities.

Those of us who work in IT inherently set examples of strong work ethics, by being on call all the time. The challenge is to balance the work responsibility with finding time for the family. In most cases, having the discipline to not check emails for 2 hours while helping the kid with homework helps to establish healthy boundaries with employers as well.

One last perk... it helps you get laid. Oddly enough, mothers are turned on by men who help their children succeed. Go figure.

Real computer scientists don't comment their code. The identifiers are so long they can't afford the disk space.