Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Harpooning the whale

One data set, two locations - each with an EMC VNXe array. Big giant file sets. How do engineers in the US and Mexico share 3D models quickly and seamlessly? We receive engineering drawings and models from our customers. We comb through the files extracting bill-of-materials information, critical dimensions and other vital attributes. A single product may have dozens of associated files totaling several hundred megabytes. Open the main assembly and a significant number of associated files may also be opened. So how can engineers connected only by VPN work on the same filesets quickly and seamlessly, just as if they were sitting in the same room? That's the first problem.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No longer having to eat our own dogfood

There is a silver lining to all this. Back in April we decided to switch our US cell carrier from Sprint to AT&T. Sprint's Mexico roaming options were not optimal, so after looking at competing bids we signed up with the Death Star. We also decided to deploy iPads to our US team at the same time, having reviewed several Android tablets during the previous year. That brought up the question of which smartphone to deploy alongside the iPads.

Our operations director brought up a good point. The ability to operate phone and tablet in the same way and to be able to share programs between the two devices would, for most of our users, be a plus. It was hard to argue with that, despite my affinity for Android. So in the spirit of "eating our own dog food" - running the same platform your customers run - I too became an iSheep. To his credit, my sysadmin refused.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


"Hey John, got a minute?"

My mornings are usually busy. Look at my email, review open help tickets and yesterday's closures. Look over the logs and checklists. Swap tapes, take a quick glance over the equipment in the server room. Review my open to-dos. That morning I was getting ready to head down to our maquila facility, so I was cramming a lot of activity into a short window of time. But I like to be helpful, so I got up from my desk and followed the CFO into our president's office.