back to article If any idiot can do it, we're heading in the right direction

The enemy of success is complexity. Although I am in general a fan of the concept of intricately intertwined Rube Goldbergian nonsense, my life thus far could be summed up as learning the value of simplicity face first. IT is all about complexity, and unpicking which combination of barely functional crap is least likely to go …

  1. Alistair


    Yes, easier to plug and play. This is a major advantage in some cases.

    I'll allow your 4 servers in a back office around the corner, plugging into a switch under the secretary's desk . *grin*

    Put 38 servers in a rack and dual path connect them to the top of rack switches.

    a) you need the wider racks just for the cables. Trust me I have thermal sensor maps that prove that.

    b) you need cable management at the servers, and at the top of rack switches. In some cases you may want to have slot bars on the walls of the rack.

    c) you need to keep the *substantial* difference in weight in mind after the 3rd or 4th rack.

    d) when DACs *do* go south you need specialized testing tools. Which apparently even our 3rd level vendor support folks don't have.

    Where they've most definitely provided simplification on one level, they *can* require more complex preparation, and they absolutely require changes in the planning, prep and implementation stages.

    I've basically had a bad set of experiences with DACs, bad planning, and really tight overloaded racks. Mind you we've also *never* had a bad fibre cable recover after being "cleaned" at all ends. Thus I may just be a cranky old bastard letting my experiences colour my perspectives.

    1. Tom Womack

      Re: DACs

      And switch vendors seem to think that 'doesn't work with some brands of DAC in some ports' is a problem they address by maintaining a compatibility list, or in the worse cases by mandating you use cables provided by them and made out of mark-up coated in a thick layer of dielectric expense, rather than by fixing their rassenfrassen switch hardware.

      Mine's the one with the distress-purchase fibre transceivers in the pocket

  2. Nate Amsden

    hate DACs

    Rather just use 10GBaseT. So much simpler. Only use fiber where distances require it.

    1. Tom Womack

      Re: hate DACs

      Sadly the cheap server motherboards have integrated 10G with SFP+ connectors, and SFP+ to 10GBaseT transceivers don't exist because driving 10GBaseT requires more power than SFP+ is specced to provide.

      If you're buying the network card, 10GBaseT is not a bad choice (if you're going to have the exotic cabling faff, at least go for 40Gbit Infiniband and have the extra speed); if it's integrated then you're screwed.

  3. lleres

    If any idiot can do it..

    ..what value do you bring?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If any idiot can do it..

      If any idiot can do it..

      ..what value do you bring?

      Who do you think is capable of setting it up so it's idiot proof? That is not a job for idiots..

      1. lleres

        Re: If any idiot can do it..

        Companies and their management have no way of telling what is difficult and what is not.

        The post is made tongue in cheek and it's point is that perhaps IT professionals should not be so eager to claim everything they do is stuff for idiots, less they find themselves replaced by said idiots.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If any idiot can do it..

          It is nearly a truism that IT professionals will be replaced by idiots eventually, usually sooner if the idiots are cheaper.

          Companies these days rarely value skill, competence, experience, etc. It's only about the bottom line. And yes, yes, we all know that downtime costs, fragile infrastructure is expensive, etc., but those who count beans can't (or won't) quantify nor correlate those things to the replacement of IT professionals by idiots.

      2. Alan W. Rateliff, II

        Re: If any idiot can do it..

        But then again...

        “You can't make anything idiot proof because idiots are so ingenious.”

        ― Ron Burns

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

          Re: If any idiot can do it..

          Added to which, as you can never get rid of them all you are simply breeding a better class of idiot

        2. Knewbie

          Re: If any idiot can do it..

          "if you hire cheaper and dumber just one more time, I promise you my fail-safes won't suffice."

          Faithfully yours,

          The pre-sales team.

  4. tiggity Silver badge

    Storing your collection

    " I don't need realtime metro-area high availability storage for my personal video collection"

    I uploaded my personal video collection to pornhub, storage job done :-)

    Or is that not the type of personal video collection you meant?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Storing your collection

      If it only exists on Pornhub, it may as well not exist at all.

      1. Mr_Si

        Re: Storing your collection

        Don't worry, it'll soon be available on vine too ;-)

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Pornhub for cloud storage

        Well, everyone can have access to the data, but they will deny having ever viewed it...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: everyone can have access [...], but they will deny having ever viewed it...

          Is this the inverse of the "if a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound" thought experiment?

    2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Storing your collection

      Other streaming porn sites are available so that's the duplication part solved

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Making phone call

    "Picking up the phone and dialling a number became finding the phone, swiping sideways, entering a password, opening the phone app, selecting the dialpad, dialling and then hitting send."

    I hardly ever do this.

    Pick up phone which is unlocked by the bluetooth dongle on my key ring. Swipe once to show homescreen, once to get to frequent numbers page, tap icon of person I want. I can do it wearing gloves. Someone might spoof my BT dongle, but I have several and change my authenticating device from time to time. I prefer it to fingerprint readers because I often have gloves on. I also like to enter all numbers into the contacts first, which saves all kinds of remembering things later.

    The moral of this, apart from the fact that I am very annoying, is that having a system and sticking to it is one of the best time savers because it becomes habitual. People with learning difficulties can be enabled to function quite effectively by teaching them processes for daily tasks very thoroughly and getting them to stick to them. Making things idiot proof is good, but training idiots (even if the idiot is yourself) is even better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Making phone call

      You are so cool, I wish I could be like you...

  6. adam payne Silver badge

    I accept as true the axiom "if your data does not exist in more than one location, then it does not exist".

    A very true axiom.

    I also have one, give users more storage and they will fill it with even more crap.

    1. gizmo23


      "give users more storage and they will fill it with even more crap."

      and then demand more storage instead of deleting some crap.

      and get pissy if you suggest they delete some crap

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: axiom

        I sense a BOFH singularity approaching.

    2. Chris Evans

      Better axiom!

      "if your data does not exist in THREE locations, then it does not exist" More than once I've seen someone (including myself) want to use the backup of a file but get confused and copy the later version of a file on top of the old file that you wanted to revert to!

  7. Alien8n

    Transceiver lifespan

    One of the less well known issues with fibre is the estimated lifespan of transceivers.In the optical semiconductor industry (well, at the company I was at at any rate) it was common to bond wires to plate using aluminium and gold. In the power semiconductor industry that is considered an absolute no no. Reason is that if you create a bond between gold and aluminium it can degrade the connection over time, something colloquially termed "purple plague". Certainly where I was working on transceivers it was completely unknown what the expected lifespan of the product was, it was just assumed by the engineers that there wouldn't be an issue. Even after it was pointed out that it was a Bad Idea.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Transceiver lifespan

      Thank you - interesting.

      Also but you have to pay (article from 1970)

      1. Alien8n

        Re: Transceiver lifespan

        Thanks Roger, I became aware of the issue when I was a product engineer for a power semiconductor company, then moved into optical semiconductors (basically the semiconductor wafer was etched into inverse channels for forcing the light down from the fibre to the photo receptors)

  8. nijam

    "discreet SANs" are the best kind, although if they're too discreet, your data may as well not exist at all.

  9. nilfs2

    Amen for simplicity

    I'm a huge proposer of KISS (not the band, I hate that one), complexity only adds cost and more things that can go wrong, but sadly this is the opposite thinking of most manufacturers, specially on IT, the more complex a system is, the more money they get out of licenses, hardware, support contracts and so on.

  10. Disk0

    Hide the complexity

    and then add some more...

  11. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    the catch 22 of it...

    Solving the complexity issue leaves people feeling like you've done nothing at all. The greatest IT complement is silence,but it's a double edged sword because making it look simple or making everything easier tends to make others wonder what they pay the big bucks for....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I Love DACs

    DAC's are great, but I would argue that any idiot can install them. We send the said lesser paid employees to the datacenters to follow the designs and instructions we have created. But one of them still managed to put all the DAC cables in upside down so when it came to testing nothing worked and he had to go to rectify the issue.

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