What Winnie-the-Pooh learned about Production upgrades
The Production ripple effectWhat is it about Production systems? They so dominate the landscape that people can forget that there are non-prod systems which may have even more of an impact when they are tinkered with or left to wither. Whether it comes to monitoring, backups, or DR, somehow we can forget that an upgrade to prod can have a ripple effect throughout the whole landscape, even if the upgrade is implemented without a hitch.
Honey and condensed milk
Think of one example: changing the disk architecture for a production system. Growth sometimes has no limits, and when it comes to rolling it out to DR, or fitting the data within a backup window, or accounting for power and cooling needs, or even moving the prod systems to a smaller environment because of a company restructure, the prod system has eaten up so many resources that there's just no room to move. The rest of the environment can even grind to a halt because the only users we thought of were the Prod users.
Of course with IBM Power Systems, virtualisation mitigates many of these concerns. If we were to buy standalone servers for each of our LPARs, and round up their CPU and memory to the next whole number, we'd all be out on the street. We are spoilt, but that isn't a reason to chew up resources just because prod "needs" it.
This overindulgence on some production systems reminds me of something that happened to Winnie-the-Pooh:
When Winnie-the-Pooh (a bear) visited his friend Rabbit (a rabbit), he pushed and pushed his way through the hole, and at last he got in. Winnie was offered a mouthful of something, and when he had had some honey and condensed milk on bread (but without the bread, so as not to appear greedy), he started to climb out of the hole.
Pooh got out of his predicament by not eating for a week. With the North end of Pooh facing the outside world and the south end stuck firmly inside Rabbit's hole, there wasn't much he could do when Rabbit decided to make a virtue of necessity and use Pooh's back legs as a towel rack.
"The fact is," said Rabbit, "you're stuck."
"It all comes," said Pooh crossly, "of not having front doors big enough."
"It all comes," said Rabbit sternly, "of eating too much. I thought at the time," said Rabbit, "only I didn't like to say anything," said Rabbit, "that one of us has been eating too much, and I knew it wasn't me."
Digging your way out of a hole
I've got nothing against Production systems. Just like to give myself a little reminder that even if their resources appear to be unlimited, the prod system is not the whole picture. A small error in the beginning becomes a big one in the end, and when your Prod system is offered a little more honey and condensed milk, remember there are DR systems, backups and a whole company dependent on you thinking about it before saying "I'll have both."