Thursday, July 22, 2004

 

Cheapskates

Somewhat light blogging today due to needing to track down all sorts of information for my new engagement.

Which brings me to my previous engagement at Colditz. As I previously noted, as much as 75% of the overall program may be cancelled due to escalating costs and politics. There are changes afoot in the board, and the new management is reluctant to spend eight figures plus cleaning up the mess in each business unit (note that there are a lot of business units). Spend in the low seven figures, OK. However, just from an infrastructure perspective alone, the technology refresh will clobber the budgets. The team developing the standards for Colditz has used the Cadillac / Chevy / Yugo paradigm, however, there are problems with the way they set those standards. For instance, one can either go with very low-end Sun boxes (up to 1280s, which incidentally do not offer things like logical partitioning) or you must go all the way up to a 15K. Even a small domain (Sun-speak for a logical partition) on a 15K is charged back to the LOB at a huge cost, and requires a multi-year commitment from the LOB. Of course, there are major changes happening to the business, and committing for several years to a system that may disappear within the next quarter due to realignments is making lots of folks antsy.

A related issue is databases. Nothing spectacular here, as they're using the standard crop of enterprise RDBMSs, but the business has expressed a desire to save money on their infrastructure. The logical answer here is to put multiple instances of databases on 15Ks (which is the usual way one would approach this problem), however, as I previously noted, the cost model and commitment required makes the LOB squirrelly. Running multiple database instances on a 1280 isn't recommended by the engineering guys, but even with running the databases on lower-end Sun machines, the hardware tab adds up quickly. The logical solution is to run the smaller databases on Wintel platforms. The RDBMS vendors have given the client extremely favorable licensing terms, so there's no real difference as to which OS a box runs (it's a very low cost item in terms of licensing and chargeback). However, the engineering guys are very reluctant to support it. In the case of one RDBMS, it's written in Java, and is essentially the same code across platforms, so the difference is one of the JRE, which affects a lot more than just the database, and we've heard no squawks about cross-platform Java apps.

Then again, even given the regulatory mandate, Colditz might opt for just paying the fine, which would probably be in the low six figures, as opposed to spending nine figures to make things right.


Finally, if no one else will say it, what is it that these two people have in common?


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