The list of things the Canadian government's IT group didn't like to see was a long list. High up on that list was "thirty-five contract developers sitting idle around a box of Tim Hortons donuts and racking up billable hours because they couldn't do any development with the DEV database out of commission".

A fantastic way to spend free time, if you can get it. It fell to Jody, junior DBA, to put an end to this. Before he even had time to grab coffee, he was investigating, "Error 04002, 'Unable to open file'" A quick check against the vendor's documentation gave him a few options: the datafile wasn't there, the drive was full, or there were insufficient file handles.

Jody quickly eliminated the first two, but found he didn't have the rights to increase the number of file handles. Feeling halfway successful, he went to his boss and explained his findings.

"We should call the vendor and see what they say," he said.

"Can we try this while you sit on hold?" he asked.

His boss was adamant, so to the phone they went. They paced about the conference room while the support analyst read through his troubleshooting script over their speaker-phone.

"And what version are you running?" When they rattled off the numbers, the support analyst apologetically replied, "Oh, that's a few point releases back. Before we proceed, we should get you upgraded to the newest version."

"We really don't have time for that," Jody said. There was a caffeine deficient edge in his voice. His boss noticed and gave him "a look".

"Well, if this were a production issue, we'd certainly try and work with your current version," the support goon said with disturbing calm, "but since this is only your development database, our policy is that you need to be up to date. Your issue may have already been solved in the next version."

"Well, this is time sensitive," Jody's boss said. "How can we upgrade?"

"Well, we do have a patch that will update you to the latest point release without doing a full install. We could overnight that to you…"

"We need it faster than that!" Jody said.

"Would you like us to fax it to you? Do you have a fax number?"

There was a long moment where Jody and his boss stared at each other in stunned silence. The question made so little sense that they hadn't the foggiest idea how to reply.

"Um, What about our FTP site?" his boss offered helpfully.

"Certainly, we can fax it to your FTP site. What's the number?"

Defeated, his boss shrugged. He couldn't make eye contact with Jody. He killed the call triumphantly. His boss logged into the server, increased the available file handles, and rebooted. Sure enough, their database came back online and the devs put their donuts down and went to work.

Satisfied, Jody returned to his desk and tackled the other work on his plate for the day. It was a little later when his boss appeared behind him, his face apologetic, with a cup of Tim Hortons and a box of donuts. "Got time to take a break?"

"I've always got time for Tim Hortons."