Wednesday, September 26, 2018

V-a-c-a-- No.

     This week was my vacation.  It was supposed to be.  We'd had something go a little bit bad at work, on a portion of the system that I have kept running using devices that were dumpster-bound; I need to relocate one of them, a large, fragile data-concatenating/compression computer, and opted instead to leave it running and clone its functions on one of a pair of newer, smaller versions we'd kept around just for that purpose.  They're all long obsolete, no longer supported by the manufacturer, but I've gotten along with them okay over the last twenty years.  I was going to come in Sunday and get it done in half a day.

     For eight hours Sunday, I worked at making one of them run.  Never did get it running; at about the six-hour mark, I gave up and tried the other.  Success!  But that took another couple of hours, it was nearing midnight, and I was pretty punchy.  Better to finish it the next day.

     Monday started well...until I looked at the output.  The main things it needed to do, it was doing fine.  There's another side function, a "virtual table," by which it tells the equipment it talks to (and the end-user) its name and a number.  It was giving the wrong name and number.  They're loaded from another computer, a server that communicates similar data sets to multiple similar computers, but that part wasn't getting through.

     The device that sends the name and number (and other information, which was getting through) is not obsolete, not yet, so Tuesday, I spent over four hours with the support team for the server that sends out that information, and they couldn't make it work.  They haven't had to try communicating with one of the obsolete machines for nearly ten years and that job was for my employer.

     Today, the large, fragile device is going to get moved.  If it doesn't survive?  Well, we're done; the only fix is to buy a very expensive replacement.

     The good news is, I'll get a few days of vacation either way.


JayNola said...

I love your starship engineering posts. The integration of obsolete equipment with modern equipment is something I encounter occasionally, the hoops required aren't nearly as comolex for the stuff I run into.

Paul said...

We are trying to move from an old platform to a new one. Supposedly more safe and sound and positions us for the cloud. At the end of the year the old stuff is to be turned off. So far the people who are leading the charge do not even begin to understand where they are leading the charge to. Or even the path to get there.

I don't think it will end well. We are one of the little teams in the project, but I am sure we will get the blame for the failure.

Fun times. Luckily I am close to retiring. Can't come soon enough.