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The Perils of Ramming Products Down IT's Throat 461

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the how-bofh's-are-born dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Paul Venezia takes issue with the all-too-familiar practice of management dictating IT solutions to admins savvy enough to know the fiat revolves around far inferior products, in this case Nissan North America's embracing of Microsoft's Hyper-V. 'Very rarely do unilateral decisions by CIOs make for solid IT infrastructures, and they are generally at odds with what the admins on the ground are communicating,' Venezia writes, noting that upper managers who succumb to vendor tricks face a far worse fate than an infrastructure based on inferior technology — one devoid of the kind of expertise necessary to make the best of their flawed purchasing decisions. 'If continuously faced with the specter of having to implement and support clearly inferior products due to baffling, uneducated management decisions, top-flight admins will simply head elsewhere.'"
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The Perils of Ramming Products Down IT's Throat

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:24PM (#29496029)
    'If continuously faced with the specter of having to implement and support clearly inferior products due to baffling, uneducated management decisions, top-flight admins will simply head elsewhere.'

    Yeah, because the job market is just that good right now.
    • by qoncept (599709) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:29PM (#29496085) Homepage
      Exactly. My entire attitude has changed. I still provide my input at work, do what I can to guide the decision makers toward what I think are the right decisions. But then if they make the wrong decision, I move on and keep doing my job. Maybe they could have done things better, but who cares? I'm still working.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:13PM (#29496659)
        "... who cares?"

        You can always be philosophical:

        Hyper-V R2 is the Zune of virtualization. Someone needs to write articles about how it isn't so bad, really, like they do for the Zune MP3 player. Vista is the Zune of operating systems. Steve Ballmer, who has little technical knowledge, is the Zune of CEOs. It's a company-wide concept at Microsoft: You don't have to be good to make money, just tricky. That's my opinion, but I'm not the only one.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bert64 (520050)

          That has always been the microsoft strategy, and it has always paid off...

          MS-DOS was never as good as CP/M, or MacOS, or AmigaOS, or Unix...
          Windows was never as good as MacOS, Unix or AmigaOS...
          Word was never as good as WordPerfect...
          Excel was never as good as Lotus 123...
          Windows NT / LanMan was never as good as Netware or Unix...

          Hyper-V will never be as good as VMware or Xen, but it will be heavily marketed, tied to existing successful products, pushed as part of existing business relationships and given a

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by digitalhermit (113459)

        It's a good attitude and would mod you up.

        I'm the same way. In the past I've been given some bizarre direction. Sometimes it's the fault of IT management, but often the direction may come from the business side. There may be incentives to use a particular product. In some cases, the voodoo of corporate financing may dictate that they lease a product and a vendor may not have that option available so the company goes with a different and lesser product. I've even seen cases where a vendor gives huge incentiv

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:26PM (#29496827) Journal

          You have to be careful though.

          Sometimes "they" will set you up such that, when failure happens, they blame you not themselves. This happened to me where I was suddenly shifted from my usual task of documentation to a board design. I've done board designs in the past, but usually I had several months to review the project, contact parts suppliers, et cetera. They only gave me 2 weeks to finish the task. I said this is an impossible schedule but they didn't want to hear it. Worse - I didn't have the necessary tools on my machine. Even though my manager immediately submitted the request for OrCad install on my PC, it took them a week to get it done.

          So long story made short - I worked 100 hours over two pre-Christmas weekends (instead of shopping for my kids' presents) trying to finish a circuit card schematic, layout, and parts list in just *1* week. When I handed it over 1 day past their desired date, first they bitched at me because it had errors (well of course - that's what happens when you RUSH things) and then they blamed me for not meeting their unrealistic schedule. I didn't even get to defend myself and say, "The management was to blame with an unrealistic schedule." I was simply shown the door.

          And no you can't sue. Contract workers don't have rights.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:45PM (#29497037)

            Did you not understand at the outset that you were being set up for failure?

          • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday September 21, 2009 @06:10PM (#29497323)

            This sounds like a valuable lesson. Next time this happens, simply don't do the job at all, because it's a no-win scenario. Instead, immediately start looking for a new job.

            Also, if you're a contractor, why would you work 100+ hours/week? Part of being a contractor is that they can't do that to you; they have to pay you for all overtime. If they don't, you get to sue, and since you have a signed contract in-hand, it's pretty hard for them to contest it.

            • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday September 21, 2009 @07:38PM (#29498127) Journal

              >>>Instead, immediately start looking for a new job.

              Oh I did. But there's none out there. Literally. So I was basically trapped with nowhere to go. After all, how many jobs are hiring the week before Christmas?

              >>>they have to pay you for all overtime.

              I know. I earned $9,000 in just two weeks. I knew I was screwed, but I made sure to screw them back and take as many hours as I could squeeze-in before the firing happened. On the day of termination they left me "finish the day out" so I charged 13 hours instead of the usual 8. Fuck the bastards up the ass.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by lymond01 (314120)

            Sometimes "they" will set you up such that, when failure happens, they blame you not themselves.

            IT: "But I TOLD you it wouldn't work!"
            MGMT: "Yes. You told me. But you did not CONVINCE me."

            Paraphrased from The Last King of Scotland.

          • by DrVomact (726065) on Monday September 21, 2009 @07:39PM (#29498129) Journal

            Contract workers don't have rights.

            That clarifies the scenario. I suspect that your PHB-of-the-moment got this fecal matter dropped on him from on high. If you'd been listening at his door you probably would have heard him muttering to himself: "Get out that circuit board design by when?...oh noes...what to do? Ah! This calls for a human sacrifice!"

            See, your PHB had to have an excuse to cover his butt. So he handed the brown mess to a contractor—i.e., somebody who doesn't even work for the company, and whom nobody cares about. Then he told his boss: "Man, that contractor from Dead Body Shops really screwed us over! What a totally incompetent idiot! But you know how those body shops are...man I certainly would never actually hire anybody like this!" At this point, all the upper-middle managers in the meeting are nodding sympathetically, because this is a well-known and efficacious ritual. They work themselves into a state of sincerely believing that it really wasn't your boss's fault, that you were a lazy, incompetent, crack-smoking moron (people will believe anything about a contractor once he ceases to exist in the local frame of reference). They will then absolve your ex-PHB of his sins, "cut him some slack", and "give him time to get the new guy (and future sacrifice) up to speed".

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Sound about rights. When I received the email from my manager (who also happened to be a contractor) which said, "Where's that circuit card design? If you can't do it, I'll find somebody who can," I knew for certain my time was up. I finished the design on Sunday morning and then sat-around surfing the net and watching my paycheck climb at $75 each hour. The axe fell two days later.

              And I don't blame my manager, although that email threat was uncalled for. I blame the manager-of-the-manager-of-the-man

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gbjbaanb (229885)

        Maybe they could have done things better, but who cares? I'm still working.

        fair enough, and there is a lot to be said that inferior technology that works is good technology, even if you think you could do better with something else. (the collorary of that is that sometime the existing tech is fine, yet plenty of "hotshot" admins/coders/geeks think they know better)

        However, in the cases where the technology is truly bad (like the "Enterprise-class" software we have to use at work) then you will only harm your self-confidence, your sense of self-worth and your overall satisfaction w

        • by lawpoop (604919) on Monday September 21, 2009 @07:35PM (#29498091) Homepage Journal

          However, in the cases where the technology is truly bad (like the "Enterprise-class" software we have to use at work) then you will only harm your self-confidence, your sense of self-worth and your overall satisfaction with yourself. After a while you'll start to not give a damn about other things too, and your skills will slowly fade, and the next thing you know - you're stuck in a crappy job you hate.

          Only if you base your self-esteem on your job. I got out of that rat-trap a long time ago. Work is work; it's not life nor your identity. Work is a lot more enjoyable now, and the challenges and assholes easier to surmount when my whole sense of self-worth does not hinge on the outcome.

    • by eihab (823648) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:36PM (#29496171)

      'If continuously faced with the specter of having to implement and support clearly inferior products due to baffling, uneducated management decisions, top-flight admins will simply head elsewhere.'

      Yeah, because the job market is just that good right now.

      If you are "top-flight" the market has no control over you. Your job security is your knowledge and skills, not the salary you get every month.

      • by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:50PM (#29496335) Homepage Journal

        How much demand is there for top-flight buggy whip makers? Longbowmen? Flint-knappers?

        Of course the market has an effect.

        • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:03PM (#29496549)

          How much demand is there for top-flight buggy whip makers? Longbowmen? Flint-knappers?

          Some. More importantly, if you're a top-flight longbowman, surely you are versatile and can translate those skills into using a recurve bow. Why then, you can compete in archery events and endorse products and make a good living.

          Likewise if you're a top-flight sys-admin then surely your skills are not completely in one product, but in the ability to learn products quickly and well and in overall knowledge of procedures and organization. Likewise part of being a top-flight sys-admin is staying current with technology, just as being a top-flight archer is keeping up with the latest bows and techniques. The market might affect how much money and what benefits you are likely to get moving to a new job, but the top-flight people I know in every field are smart enough to know money isn't everything and it's better to take a lower paying job playing with cool toys and enjoying yourself all day, rather than the best paying job dealing with idiots and broken junk that is frustrating and unrewarding.

          Incidentally, this is why $100 worth of beer on the company expense account provided in the fridge at work is going to be worth a lot more than $100 divided up as higher salary among your workers.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Machtyn (759119)
            If you drink beer. My company has beer-30 on Friday afternoons. I hang out sometimes, but get no supposed benefit from the generosity. (The break from work isn't too bad, though.)
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sco08y (615665)

            Likewise if you're a top-flight sys-admin then surely your skills are not completely in one product, but in the ability to learn products quickly and well and in overall knowledge of procedures and organization.

            And the human resources troll reading a paragraph like that doesn't see ACME-FOOLATOR 12.5 WITH MEGA-XML, and tosses your resume in the garbage.

            Yeah, yeah, I know, networking and all that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Petrushka (815171)

          How much demand is there for top-flight buggy whip makers? Longbowmen? Flint-knappers?

          As a sibling poster said, some. You're generalising on the basis of no data. Even in those areas "top-flight" people can -- and will, if they go independent rather than rely on someone else to employ them -- have a career. Here's [fuzing.com] one longbow manufacturer in China that employs 58 people; here's [jedediahsbuggywhip.com] a buggy whip specialist in the US. (Flint-knapping was never really commercial, but there are still amateur associations [onagocag.com], and some people [flintknapping.co.uk] even manage to make a living out of it.)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Knara (9377)

        "top-flight" admins exist? I mean, I'm sure that "top-flight" systems analysts and what not exist, but admins?

        I know some very good admins, but I don't think the job field for those folks allows as much mobility as, say, a "top-flight" developer

        As an aside, "top-flight"? I think this is the first half-dozen times I've ever used that term. Is this some sort of recent linguistic import to the IT field?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mwvdlee (775178)

          There probably do exist "top-flight" admins. But, like most professions, even "top-flight" personel can be replaced, even if sometimes you need to hire an entire department to replace a single employee.
          The only time you can't be replaced is if your skillset is unique AND your job can only be done by one single person.
          An employee that can think or perform in a unique way cannot be replaced because no matter how many others you hire, they won't think the same way.
          An employee that is 10x better than others CAN

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by quanticle (843097)

            An employee that is 10x better than others CAN be replaced; by 10 others.

            Even if the employee can't be replaced by 10 others, management isn't going to fire the 10 people they just hired and rehire the old employee at his or her previous salary. Doing so would be a blatant admission of failure by whoever did the original firing and replacement.

          • by Sxooter (29722) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:40PM (#29499651)

            Sorry, but often putting 10 people on the same job one genius could do in a week results in a year long project that never reaches its goals. It's "The Mythical Man Month" at work.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SuperQ (431) *

          I don't know anyone using the term "top-flight" for sysadmins either. Mostly they're just bad-ass motherfuckers. :)

          But while we're using the term, all the "top-flight" "systems analysts" I've met couldn't sysadmin their way out of a wet paper bag. From what I can tell "analyst" is another word for "failing upwards".

          I know many "top-flight" sysadmins and systems-focused software engineers. None of them call themselves "analysts".

        • by jimicus (737525) on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:31PM (#29496895)

          I don't know about top flight, but I can tell you this for nothing:

          The industry is full of bottom-flight system admins. People who heard there was money in computing, people who got an MCSE through a company that "guarantees an MCSE in 3 weeks!!11", people who have all the experience that they should be great but still seem to be unable to do even the most basic tasks.

          And a lot of employers can't tell the difference between these people and those who really do know what they're doing, even after they've hired them.

        • by ajlisows (768780) on Monday September 21, 2009 @06:36PM (#29497565)

          Well, "Top-Flight" Admins may not necessarily exist but "Bottom of the Barrel" Admins sure do. It may not be easy initially to spot the difference. Garbage Admins may be able to answer some technical questions that you throw at them if they have dealt with the tech you are discussing. After you hire them on you'll see that they can perform some basic tasks, have no desire to learn anything new, have no idea how to handle problems they have never encountered, and are too lazy to do anything but the absolutely minimum amount of maintenance that they can get by with doing to keep the systems from bursting into flames. Their idea of a job well done will be calling in a consultant to fix a problem while they stand there slack jawed, helpless, and generally not bothering to find out how to fix it themselves if it happens again.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by venom85 (1399525)

        Not really. The market always has an effect. Regardless of your skills and knowledge, if there is no demand for those skills, you won't have employment. Once you have a job, your job security *should* be based on your skills and knowledge. (I say should because there are other factors out of your control, some of which are artificial due to government regulation) But the market always has an influence on your employment, regardless of what you know.

        • Government regulation wat?
          I can't think of any artificial regulatory factors visible to admins that are from the government and not from internal policy or the market.

      • by InvisiBill (706958) <slashdot@@@invisibill...net> on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:05PM (#29496565) Homepage

        'If continuously faced with the specter of having to implement and support clearly inferior products due to baffling, uneducated management decisions, top-flight admins will simply head elsewhere.'

        Yeah, because the job market is just that good right now.

        If you are "top-flight" the market has no control over you. Your job security is your knowledge and skills, not the salary you get every month.

        Your knowledge and skills don't magically create food or pay your bills. If you choose to walk out on your current job (due to their utter stupidity or any other reason), you don't need job security [wikipedia.org], you need to get hired elsewhere. Your top-flight knowledge and skills may let you find a new job sooner than a fresh grad would, but I highly doubt there are many admins out there who can simply walk out of their current job and immediately into another one of their choosing in today's economy.

        • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:27PM (#29496847) Homepage

          I think the thing people are missing here is that our stereotypical "top-flight" admin is not going to hear about the new Hyper-V deployment, throw up his hands and walk out onto the street. He's going to hear about it, argue against it, tell his boss it's a bad idea, and eventually, if the decision was particularly horrid or part of a pattern of bad decisions, start looking for a new job. After he finds a new job (which given the economy may take a bit longer than usual, but *will* happen if he really is that good), then he'll walk out.

          Bad management decisions don't result in an immediate loss of talent (unless the bad decision is firing the talented people of course), they result in a gradual drain of talent. Whether you've lost all your good people in a single moment of terrible decision making, or lost them over the course of the last year as they got frustrated and left, you've still lost them.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Atrox666 (957601)

            People don't leave all at once like you say what you get is the Dead Sea Effect.http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/12/2241216
            Most of these companies would rather have a cheap admin from India with poor communication skills and worse tech savvy.
            The Indian would be on contract and would not add to head count. They will happily pay more for bad service because they really don't care if IT is done well. They do care about head count. If something goes really wrong they will change companies and get ano

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JWSmythe (446288)

          I'm there. I have the resume, and history to prove I know my job. It's been about 2 years of downhill slide, where things went from bad to worse to ... well ... I have all kinds of time to write on here now. I do odd jobs, look for real IT employment, and surf the web.

          Nope, it's not about who you know, or what skills you have. It's not even about who drops dead any more. Back in the day, if someone died (or retired, whatever), that position would be filled by someone else

      • by erroneus (253617) on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:11PM (#29496637) Homepage

        DREAM ON

        Real talent, knowledge and skills are no defense. There are plenty of people in HR and other decision making positions who will underestimate and undervalue some while overestimating and overvaluing others. I have seen some truly good people go while some real dirt-bags stay employed and I'm sure others have seen this story played out a thousand times before. And when it starts affecting the longevity on the resume, it doesn't matter how good you are. Employers will see short-term job hopping and wonder if the reason isn't you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by quanticle (843097)

        Lets be honest here. How many of us are actually "top-flight"? I'd be willing to bet a whole lot less than the number of people who respond in the affirmative. Given that we're not likely to be top-flight, no matter what we think, your advice has relevance for only a vanishingly small number of admins, most of whom probably don't need to hear it anyway. As for the rest of us, we do need to worry about the job market. There are going to be fewer jobs, as companies find that they're able to limp along wi

    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:40PM (#29496225) Homepage

      The headaches your job provides may end up being too much for the benefit. It may be worth it to people.

      Even if you don't judge it worth leaving, are you telling me that if management was constantly saying "use X" when it's not even in the right class, you wouldn't prepare to leave when the opportunity came? You don't want to have to fix problems that you predicted and warned against ahead of time forever.

      Remember, you don't have to leave until you have a new job. You could slowly look on the sly for 6 months or a year.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:25PM (#29496035)

    If you had read the entire article, you would find that they are going to run vmware inside the hyper-v instances, so everything will work out in the end.

    • Typical Slashdot. A joke only a technically educated person would understand.

      I know this is on-topic, sorry for that, but here is a quote from the article: "According to Burton Group, VMware and Citrix XenServer are the only two enterprise-ready hypervisor platforms on the market."

      What will we do until the old codger managers with no technical knowledge, and no interest in learning, retire or die? The problem gets worse every day. When I say "old", I am not talking about chronological age, I'm talking
  • Rant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:28PM (#29496075)

    'If continuously faced with the specter of having to implement and support clearly inferior products due to baffling, uneducated management decisions, top-flight admins will simply head elsewhere.'"

    This sounds suspiciously like a whining threat, rather than a fact. How does the author know what fraction of admins leave in a situation like this?

    Sure, many admins probably consider leaving when crap like this happens. Heck, I consider leaving my job whenever a purchase takes too long to go through.

    But this summary sounds like a barely veiled threat to upper management: a claim that if you do this, your good admins will leave. I want evidence for such a claim before I believe it.

    • Re:Rant (Score:5, Insightful)

      by laughingcoyote (762272) <.moc.eticxe. .ta. .lwohtsehgrab.> on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:34PM (#29496145) Journal

      While I can't quote you an exact figure offhand (and doubt anyone can), I will bet you the rent that the number is nonzero. Why take the risk? If it does happen, you're stuck with a double whammy-an inferior, ill-fitting product, and newly hired admins who don't know your company to try and run it. Even if they don't leave, you're still stuck with an inferior, ill-fitting product with your well-trained admins to run it.

      On the other hand, the more autonomy you let people have, the more likely they are to stick around. (This is well known enough I hope you don't need proof, and that's really all this comes down to anyway.) And since they're the experts on IT equipment (that IS why you hired them, right?), now you have the best equipment for the job and your well-trained, seasoned admins to run it. Why would you want something else?

      • Re:Rant (Score:5, Insightful)

        by causality (777677) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:52PM (#29496371)

        And since they're the experts on IT equipment (that IS why you hired them, right?), now you have the best equipment for the job and your well-trained, seasoned admins to run it. Why would you want something else?

        In other words, don't be an incompetent manager. Incompetent managers hire people whose expertise they distrust so they can waste time and effort second-guessing their motives and use their authority to undermine technical decisions that should instead be made with facts and logic. This behavior is a bit like paying a doctor to diagnose a disease and then calling him a liar when he makes the diagnosis - if you honestly believe you know medicine better than the doctor does, why would you hire him? It should surprise no one that this behavior, especially when it occurs in a top-down environment where calling bullshit could get you fired rather than respected for your honesty, can only alienate your staff. It's also no great leap of logic to conclude that the brightest and most talented workers (IT or any other) don't wish to be alienated and don't want the neurotic load caused by regular reminders that the person who hired them for their expertise does not trust their expertise.

        Some of the best managers are delegators who do not micromanage more than what is necessary for business or legal reasons. They hire good people whose decisions can be trusted and then they let those people make good decisions with minimal interference. They're also open to suggestions for how processes and methods can be improved and whether it would be economical to replace existing tools with superior ones, with "superior" being defined by the needs of the business and how well they can be met with a particular solution. The control freaks and the ones who want to deemphasize the contributions of subordinates so they can look good just don't understand these things, to the cost of everyone who has to work under them. In fact, I wish a dollar figure could be calculated that would show how costly this type of manager really is.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by idontgno (624372)

          In other words, don't be an incompetent manager. Incompetent managers hire people whose expertise they distrust so they can waste time and effort second-guessing their motives and use their authority to undermine technical decisions that should instead be made with facts and logic. This behavior is a bit like paying a doctor to diagnose a disease and then calling him a liar when he makes the diagnosis - if you honestly believe you know medicine better than the doctor does, why would you hire him?

          To agree

      • Re:Rant (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kokuyo (549451) on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:03PM (#29496531) Journal

        Why would you want something else indeed.

        Because we IT folk are not trustworthy with money. If left to our own devices, we tend to geek out on cool new tech that is untested and has not proven its stability in any meaningful markets. Unless we are kept on a tight leash, we will start many projects in parallel, never finishing any, just because we want to do fun things instead of work.

        At least that's the vibes my management gives off. Frankly, I don't know where this comes from. I mean it's not like I'd want to constantly work around annoying bugs. One would think it would be in my interest first and foremost to have infrastructures that works. Me being the storage and backup guy, it would fall to me to restore lost data so you can bet your ass, your family and your eternal soul that I'll stay away from the cool stuff as far away as possible. I want the reliable stuff.

        See, in my company we've had to increase our budget estimates because we knew that management would cut them to shreds anyway. We had to make sure what would be left would be enough to do anything at all. It's basically a self-fullfilling prophecy: They don't trust us and tie our hands in so many ways that we have to start to lie to them to get anything done.

        It's frustrating and I, for one, am fed up with it, because on top of it all, when something eventually breaks, it suddenly becomes your fault again. That and the meagre salary I get make me wish I had done something worthwhile. Being a carpenter sounds really neat compared.

        Sorry for the rant.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Why take the risk? If it does happen, you're stuck with a double whammy-an inferior, ill-fitting product, and newly hired admins who don't know your company to try and run it.

        Who cares about that? So long as you don't get fired for it you've made a friend in the vendor and they'll continue taking you out to strip clubs and bars on their sales slush fund every time they have a new product or version. If you ever need a new job, like if your company is going under because their IT doesn't work, well there's one more contact who might be able to help. And even if the company isn't going under, the best way to move up is to switch companies anyway and now you can say you revamped an

    • Re:Rant (Score:4, Insightful)

      by megamerican (1073936) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:35PM (#29496159)

      The good admins will definitely leave when the company goes bankrupt after so many bad decisions. Admins leaving voluntarily will of course vary depending on the current job market/economic conditions.

      The proof is common sense. If you make someones job terrible enough then they'll leave given the chance.

    • Re:Rant (Score:5, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:36PM (#29496163)

      Well there's the flip side of the coin too. Perhaps there's nothing at all wrong with the technology, but the admin isn't as good as he thinks he is, and fails to understand how to use it to its fullest, or worse, because of dogma in THEIR head, refuse to.

      • Re:Rant (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `yppupcinataS'> on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:29PM (#29496869) Journal

        Here's the best/worst example I've ever seen.

        I used to work for a company that had a huge managed information infrastructure built up of a number of XML feeds from various business units that went through a custom, in-house, processing system, were categorized, databased, and aggregated out to various parties. The in house system was huge and idiosyncratic, but it worked. There were a number of people (2) who maintained it, and were well paid.

        So the old company gets bought by the new company, and the new company derides the old system as worthless, fires all the developers, and discontinues the use of the code. The developers ask for, and are granted, the right to open source the code (who's going to want it, right?)

        So the new company shops around to a bunch of third party people, and finds someone who is willing to take on the whole infrastructure for a nice low price. Managers are patting themselves on the back so hard they're getting shoulder problems, "This is so much better than that old crap system HA HA HA!"

        Well, as I "migrate" all my information stuff it quickly becomes clear that no one at the new 3rd party company understands their processing software, but that all our old codes, all our weird categorizations...All that stuff still works. Well, that's damn peculiar.

        The old processing system used to send back an acknowledgement if you sent it a certain series of codes, telling you receipt time, process time, etc, etc. So I sent up the codes, and got back a response, complete with software version information. Fuckers had taken our OWN CODE and SOLD IT BACK TO US, and like a bunch of morons, the goddamn PHBs had PAID for it!

        There is a tendency to trust a 3rd party just because you don't know the problems they're having. Be wary, however, that they don't just turn around and make you pay for what you already had for free.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by King_TJ (85913)

      The bigger issue is one of morale.... Sure, the admin might not *leave* over this, but he or she is likely to feel a lot less empowered in the company. When you realize your "expert opinions" have little value in a corporation, and that's what you THOUGHT was one of the key things you could provide them to "add value" in the first place - how excited will you be about doing you job well?

      I have to say, I'd never call myself a "top flight" sysadmin. I'm probably someplace in the middle. There's more out t

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pla (258480)
      This sounds suspiciously like a whining threat, rather than a fact.

      Threat, fact, whatever you want to call it, doesn't much matter. If a company/executive/manager/teamleader treats their employees like crap, those employees will consider their options. For any halfway-decent employees, their options will include "get the hell out of Dodge" (no pun on Nissan from TFA intended).

      Sure, only the best-of-the-best can walk on a moment's notice and pick their job of choice the next day, but all but the worst-
    • Re:Rant (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Herkum01 (592704) on Monday September 21, 2009 @06:13PM (#29497339)

      I had a job with a company that had a problem with management. They went in two waves, the first was when the deadlines for a new system were unrealistic and he said he was going to fire people to get on track. The manager got fired but 6 people left for new jobs within two weeks.

      The second wave occurred when the new manager decided to change the from Ruby to .NET in mid-project. 6 people left within two weeks of that decision and all of them had found work somewhere else.

      So in the course of 8 months, 12 out of 15 developers had left for immediately greener pastures. So I would consider it a very realistic threat.

  • by Renraku (518261) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:34PM (#29496147) Homepage

    Just like every other industry that has to buy products, rarely do the experts have much say in which products would work the best.

    How can you hold authority when you have to get the workers to make the decisions for you? Today it's which widget to buy, tomorrow it's how many hours they have to work, and next week, they'll be supervising themselves!

    So here, employees, make the best of this Z-brand Widget that doesn't fit your needs at all. We bought 10,000 of them, and so help you if you don't use every single one of them.

    Did I mention that Z-brand sent us managers to Vegas for a few days? Of course I didn't, because workers shouldn't know what goes on elsewhere in the company!

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:38PM (#29496193)

    These links are all just speculation and fluff. There's no news in any of the articles. Don't waste your time RTFA.

    FYI

  • by Petersko (564140) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:39PM (#29496197)
    So this is just some guy's opinion, right? Just like the hundreds of opinions that will undoubtedly fill up the page below this one of mine?

    "Many places are Microsoft-centric, but exactly zero are 100 percent Microsoft." By which he means... "They may run Microsoft products on the servers and desktop, but there's absolutely no way that they are using solely Microsoft applications and products in every part of the infrastructure, from the switches to the firewalls."

    Well bra-vo. Golf clap.
    • by plague3106 (71849) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:45PM (#29496265)

      Indeed... which is funny, because no where in the actual article does Nissan say they regretted the decision.

      And that guys opinion misses the point; when people say they are an MS shop, they're talking servers / workstations.. nobody cares AT ALL what OS the switch or router is running..

      The only non-computer device where I wish there was a different OS is my cable box, which runs linux. The reason I wish it ran something else? It locks up quite a bit, and takes forever to reboot.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Korbeau (913903)

      The point? I think it's to lead you to their Zazzle store or make you buy Windows Sentinel after seeing their ads 6 times.

  • by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:46PM (#29496289)
    At my work the sysadmin refuses to upgrade from SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition (which had its support discontinued several years ago, though he still hasn't installed the latest service pack from 2004 or so), despite the fact that we have a budget (and need) for a high end clustered system with a nice pretty SAN. The execs are now pushing it because we're getting deadlocks constantly, but the admin insists that if everyone would stop using the database to do anything, we'd be fine, and refuses to upgrade.
    • by hondo77 (324058)
      Wait. The executives want a sysadmin to perform an upgrade but the sysadmin refuses? Who is running this company? I don't think it's who you think it is.
    • by mccalli (323026) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:57PM (#29496457) Homepage
      At my work the sysadmin refuses to upgrade from SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition...despite the fact that we have a budget (and need)... The execs are now pushing it because we're getting deadlocks constantly, but the admin insists that if everyone would stop using the database to do anything, we'd be fine, and refuses to upgrade.

      Re-apply the budget. Upgrade the admin instead.

      Cheers,
      Ian
    • by blhack (921171) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:59PM (#29496479)

      This is happening because your "admin" is an inexperienced idiot. He is refusing the upgrade because he is afraid that it is going to make him look foolish when he doesn't "know" the new system.

      This doesn't solve your problem, but at least now you know what is going on.

      This is not the same as what the article is addressing. What TFA is talking about is when admins know more about the topic at hand than their bosses, but their bosses power-trip their way into failure.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        This is happening because your "admin" is an inexperienced idiot. He is refusing the upgrade because he is afraid that it is going to make him look foolish when he doesn't "know" the new system.

        Well, or, to be fair, he may be concerned the cure may be worse than the disease. Upgrading to a new major revision of a core system component has non-trivial risks. Now, if the admin isn't communicating those risks, that's a different problem. But it's not fair to immediately assume that he just doesn't know what

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Deosyne (92713)

          He's insisting on keeping databases on SQL Server 2000. He doesn't know what in the fuck he's doing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Upgrading to a new major revision of a core system component has non-trivial risks.

          Running an unsupported release that hasn't been patched in 5 years is also a risk, and may be a SOX violation.

    • by tsstahl (812393)
      Replace his dogeared copy of whatever industry press book he is using with one that features the version you want.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:03PM (#29496543)

      At my work the sysadmin refuses to upgrade from SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition (which had its support discontinued several years ago

      Not true. You can still get tech support for SQL Server 2000:

      http://blogs.msdn.com/sqlreleaseservices/archive/2008/02/15/end-of-mainstream-support-for-sql-server-2005-sp1-and-sql-server-2000-sp4.aspx [msdn.com]

      In fact, extended support for the previous version, SQL Server 7, ends 2010-12-31.

      (some businesses really, really, really don't want to change SQL server versions)

      though he still hasn't installed the latest service pack from 2004 or so),

      Ok, that is pretty dumb.

      despite the fact that we have a budget (and need) for a high end clustered system with a nice pretty SAN.

      You can cluster with SQL 2000. And even without a cluster, it will run nicely on a SAN.

      The execs are now pushing it because we're getting deadlocks constantly, but the admin insists that if everyone would stop using the database to do anything, we'd be fine, and refuses to upgrade.

      Deadlocks can sometimes be avoided by adjusting your SQL code.

      Frankly, the best reason to upgrade from SQL 2000 is native 64-bit versions, which lets you use LARGE amounts of memory for your DB. Not to mention DB mirroring.

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:52PM (#29496367)

    His whole rant is based on the "fact" (assumed) that Hyper-V doesn't meet Nissan's needs. He has no idea what Nissan needs. He has no idea if Hyper-V does or does not meet those needs.

    VMWare is indeed very mature and full of features, some of which are missing from Hyper-V. Now let's pretend we aren't snide little commentators and dig in more. What does Hyper-V have that VMWare doesn't? Like... an affordable price? Like...being built into and integrated with Windows Server 2008 very well?

    Worthless article picked for SlashDot solely because the author makes nonsensical rants against a Microsoft product.

    A more insightful article might have been about IT and IT pundits sometimes like to pretend _they_ are the business. Your boss will set certain parameters for you to do your job. Now sometimes they may just seem TOTALLY CRAZY, I mean like "don't spend $50 million on a virtualization solution, instead spend $10 million on this other product we've got a deal for with Microsoft to get much more cheaply". Crazy to save money though, I know. It's all about the admins and their expertise, right

    • by Etrias (1121031) on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:06PM (#29496571)
      Maybe it's because Hyper-V isn't a mature product and VMWare is the best out there for virtualization.

      You're being dishonest about your numbers anyway. For $50 million dollars, that's enough licensing to get Enterprise level support from VMWare for over 16,500 processors.

      But the problem is that if Hyper-V doesn't work well, doesn't fit the needs of the company, why spend your hypothetical $10 million for a solution that doesn't work? That's the problem with clueless CIOs who look at the financial cost of something and balks rather than looks at what the goals they want to achieve and get the best solution for it. The cheaper option will always end up costing more money than the right solution.
  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:57PM (#29496453)

    "Just put it on the cloud. I saw an IBM commercial last night that said this would solve all of our remote access problems."

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:27PM (#29496851) Homepage

    The Magician of the Ivory Tower brought his latest invention for the master programmer to examine. The magician wheeled a large black box into the master's office while the master waited in silence.

    "This is an integrated, distributed, general-purpose workstation," began the magician, "ergonomically designed with a proprietary operating system, sixth generation languages, and multiple state of the art user interfaces. It took my assistants several hundred man years to construct. Is it not amazing?"

    The master raised his eyebrows slightly. "It is indeed amazing," he said.

    "Corporate Headquarters has commanded," continued the magician, "that everyone use this workstation as a platform for new programs. Do you agree to this?"

    "Certainly," replied the master, "I will have it transported to the data center immediately!" And the magician returned to his tower, well pleased.

    Several days later, a novice wandered into the office of the master programmer and said, ``I cannot find the listing for my new program. Do you know where it might be?''

    "Yes," replied the master, "the listings are stacked on the platform in the data center."

    -- The Tao of Programming

  • by gravyface (592485) on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:28PM (#29496853)

    until you read the referenced Nissan article, and realise that maybe the "good relationship with Microsoft that we leverage and utilize" was worth more to them than filling the feature gaps in Hyper-V vs. VMWare/XenServer. It's even possible that the MS "good relationship" discounts they're most likely enjoying are what allowed them to move forward with the project in the first place. If either of those are the case, then how can you fault the CIO on this decision?

  • by Charles Dodgeson (248492) <jeffrey@goldmark.org> on Monday September 21, 2009 @05:56PM (#29497159) Homepage Journal

    Once when I was leaving a job (because my family was moving) I had plenty of lead time to give notice, and, among other things, I was asked to draft the job description for my replacement. One of the things that I put in that was, "never leave the boss alone with a salesman." My boss chuckled at this, but somehow that bit did get cut from the final version.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Monday September 21, 2009 @06:08PM (#29497295)

    As someone who currently uses VMWare products along side Hyper-V, if you are willing to walk out of your job because of this, you either are in an extremely specific situation that is so tailored to VMWare that it should take you all of 30 seconds to prove why only VMWare is an option ... or ... you're just a whiney little bitch.

    VMware and Hyper-V while certainly different, they aren't so much so that there is any reason to walk out other than throwing a temper tantrum cause you didn't get your way. They both work, they both do the job they are supposed to do. They both have stengths and weaknesses, but neither of them has any strength that can't be accomplished indirectly with the other, and no weakness that can't be overcome indirectly.

    If you're willing to walk out because of this choice, you probably don't have the skills to just walk into another job right now. Neither of them have a feature you can't do with a (sometimes hefty) script on the other.

    So go ahead, walk out, they probably won't be that upset. Perhaps you should just accept that you don't always get your way, and its called 'work' for a reason.

  • A two way street... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Monday September 21, 2009 @07:06PM (#29497833)

    While this article correctly points out the problems with implementing an IT solution without significant and valued IT input; the same is true for IT driving a solution without significant user input hat is actually understood and included in the decision making process.

    Too often, IT comes up with a solution that the think is cool, meets their needs, and is an abomination in the eyes of the end users. Yes, it has a cool underlying infrastructure, is easy to maintain, and has plenty of bells and whistles but unless it solves a problem, who (beyond IT) cares?

    All too often, end users find ways around it and you wind up with a mess of one off apps taht IT is expected to support; leading to much whining about end users and the stupid things they are doing.

    Unfortunately for IT, it usually comes down to "How much revenue did you generate?" and "Oh, you're a cost center. Let's see if out sourcing is cheaper." As one boss of mine put it, once our IT department brings in 30 mill a year in revenue they can have a say in how we conduct business. Unfortunately, the real problem - lack of communication and coordination - is never solved.

    I have worked in places where IT and end users actually talked - usually smaller shops - and surprise surprise - it wasn't an adversarial relationship. They wouldn't always do what I asked, or would set something up with the understanding I was basically on my own from there out, or suggest a different supported solution - resulting in an environment where we simply got stuff done.

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