Is there anyone out there who actually enjoys updating the operating system on any computer in their shop? Forget five nines, we all know that Windows, on a good day, is lucky to escape rebooting. So maybe a Windows update (or just a patch) holds the pathetic, inevitably disappointing promise of greater stability. And Unix, along with its derivatives and variants, qualifies you for the patch of the week club.
Good old MPE, of course, delivers the stability the other operating systems only promise. So I, for one, am more than reluctant to rock the boat of stability achieved by being among the last to update to the current version of MPE/iX. Think your current OS will no longer be supported, PowerPatch 37, months of following other peoples misery on 3000-L. My appeals have all been exhausted, my SE is reading my current OS its last rites. Its time to update MPE.
When it comes to operating system updates, people seem to fall into two categories: those who have it down to a science, and those who dont have a clue. Theres no in-between. Dont ask me why, its just how it is. But rather than succumb to the annoying impulse for self-improvement, let those of us who are clueless revel in all the wonderful ways we hose ourselves on the way to support for that new device we cant live without.
Top Ten Worst Reasons For Updating MPE/iX
10. To impress Jodie Foster.
9. All the other system managers are doing it
8. Its a slow day, what the heck.
7. A programmer dared me.
6. Ill do anything to speak to that engineer with the sexy voice at the Response Center.
5. I cant live without that new !HPGUESSWHATIAM variable.
4. My manager says he read in an airline magazine if we dont do it well lose our competitive edge.
3. HP is now including utilities with the OS that we had to pay for in the past. Think of the money well save!
2. The new OS should be 10 percent faster than the one were on now.
1. Hey, HP-UX is already on version 11. We have a lot of catching up to do!
How to Guarantee an Exciting OS Update
Dont Plan. Planning is for wimps. Were smart, were experienced, whats the big deal? And because planning involves risk analysis, we wont worry about things like contingencies. What can go wrong? And besides, I have a backup!
Dont Do Any Research. Hey, this is MPE were talking about here. Applications written during the Eisenhower administration still run to this day. HP wouldnt just up and break compatibility now, would they? And everyone knows OS updates are time consuming and boring. So what better time to read the Communicator then while Im sitting around waiting for the update to ask for the next tape?
Dont Keep Your Skills Current. Wow, these update instructions sure have changed since that 4.0 update I did seven years ago. Now, what page am I supposed to turn to next? And how do we shut down and start up the system these days? Look at that, 23 background jobs. I remember when we didnt run 23 jobs in a day. Hmm, I wonder what this one does
Dont Test. This is the operating system were talking about here. How on earth can you test that? Sure, we have a development box, but we cant disrupt the developers now, can we? And theres no way we can justify getting a separate box just for testing something that only happens once every few years. No, well just update what we have and if it doesnt work out well back it out.
Dont Verify the Media. Its readable, all right. Unfortunately, my subsys tape is only missing everything. And wasnt the PowerPatch supposed to be two tapes, not one?
Dont Tell Anyone. You know how that goes. If you tell people, they wont let you do it. You looked at the Communicator and didnt see anything major in there. Just slip it in over the weekend. The only thing anyone will notice is the performance improvement.
Pick a Day, Any Day. Sure, we cant update during the week. Everybody knows that. But any old Sunday works for me. Oh, the Sunday I picked is the last day of the month and we have a boatload of processing to do on Monday, the first? No problem-o!
Dont Check Inventory. Gee, nobody told me that we hardly keep any media in stock besides DLTs these days. Well this update is more important than those DDS cartridges that havent quite expired yet. Nobody will miss these tapes if theyre scratched a little early.
Dont Prep the System. Whoa, where did all my disk space go? And stop me if Im wrong, but I swear this HP-IB printer was working yesterday.
Dont Keep A List of Phone Numbers Handy. The phone number for the Response Center is stuck to the side of the system. Thats all I need, right? System handle, system handle excellent question. Wait, what do you mean Im not an authorized caller? I have a down system, doesnt that count for anything? Say, you wouldnt have Adagers number handy, would you?
Dont Verify You Have the Capabilities. Excuse me, but who changed the MANAGER.SYS password? I need that password, and I need it now!
Unfortunately, I have either observed or been guilty of all of the above at one time or another. Some of us do learn over time to minimize risk, until eventually we eliminate the excitement of the old fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method. Boring? Yes. Effective? Yes. But what would Jodie Foster say?
Scott Hirsh, former chairman of the SIG-SYSMAN Special Interest Group, is a partner at Precision Systems Group, an authorized HP Channel Partner which consults on HP OpenView, Maestro, Sys*Admiral and other general HP 3000 and HP 9000 automation and administration practices.
Copyright The 3000 NewsWire. All rights reserved.