Sometimes I feel more like I’m a detective than programmer/analyst. Fact is, I believe, that there has to be at least a little bit of detective in every IT person who has the opportunity to evaluate software applications and their sometimes strange behaviors.
As an example of what I mean, I share with you an opportunity I’ve been presented that has surely become a mystery worthy of any good detective – or perhaps a sick mind :-). Picture this, an application that runs flawlessly and with acceptable speed on a minimally configured server when moved to a new “high-end” server slows down to borderline acceptable performance – clearly and noticeably slower than the old one. Both systems use RAID 5, both are running MS Server 2003 SBS. Main difference between new and old is that new uses more powerful chips, faster drives, 4 times the RAM and gigabit network connectivity – none of which cause me to suspect that it should run slower than the old.
The issue was called to my attention after the company “network” guys had all but thrown up their hands and said basically “…it must be the application…”. It seems very hard to believe that it would be anything other than configuration of “something” on the new server.
As yet the issue remains unsolved – but I use it to highlight one of the great challenges that we in the IT field are presented with . One need not look beyond the next IT person you talk with to find the next “detective” story or unsolved mystery. We are faced with them constantly. We need software and hardware tools, knowledge bases and lots of experience to investigate and solve such issues. Issues which cross various specialties such as security, networking, programming, application testing and design require us to be “detective” – to ask the right persons the right questions – to find the right tool to identify the cause of the problem, as well as to recognize opportunities to “check into”.
“Lots of luck” also helps!