• leenkr.com (unregistered)

    is this a major hosting company many of us will recognize?

  • Stupidumb (cs) in reply to leenkr.com
    leenkr.com:
    is this a major hosting company many of us will recognize?
    Not anymore.
  • Matt (unregistered)

    Okay, so yes, this is a WTF, but not an uncommon one.

    Upper management gets involved in the details of a project, under the assumption that they're competent to do so. Sadly, there's no one high enough on the totem pole to remind them that being a good executive != being a technical PM. Throwing money at contractors is substituted for any kind of plan, and I'll bet a handful of clipped toenails against a hundred years hard labor that testing was either ignored or skimped due to deadline constraints.

    Fail to plan == plan to fail. Cliche, true. But cliches tend to get that way by being more or less correct.

  • Dance (unregistered) in reply to leenkr.com

    Thanks for the reminder to transfer my last few accounts away from iPower

  • GettinSadda (cs)

    I reckon that this is the incident when Domain Direct took over NetIdentity and made a dogs breakfast of the server migration.

  • vt_mruhlin (cs)

    That was a bit anti-climactic.

  • Tigress (unregistered)

    Sounds scarily familiar to what I went through a couple of years ago. I was working for a hosting provider, where I was responsible for a migration project. The scope of the migration was not properly explained to me (I know, my fault for not checking before I accepted) and things got severely delayed. Things didn't get better when the developer that was assigned to me was hounded by three of his bosses (in perfect Office Space style) and had absolutely no time to give to me at all.

    In the end, I was fired from that job, something which I honestly didn't object too much to. I picked up my pieces and left to find myself a better job.

    I'm now upper management for a consulting company, making almost three times as much as I did in the previous job. I'm appreciated for my efforts, and I have a great team of competent people to work with. The hosting company in question has shed people constantly and are likely still in the same sad shape.

  • J (unregistered)

    Five months? He should have accepted the demotion then immediately started sending out his resume. I would think that sticking around after being demoted would look almost as bad to future employers as getting fired.

  • Devek (unregistered)

    The real problem was the use of ruby.

    I have never heard of a successful migration to Ruby in a production environment.

    There might be one or two successful sites somewhere using it, but that doesn't detract from the massive amount of failed sites that tried.

  • Lysis (cs)

    Sooooo...there were system outages due to a migration. k that never happens.

  • DeLos (cs) in reply to J
    J:
    Five months? He should have accepted the demotion then immediately started sending out his resume. I would think that sticking around after being demoted would look almost as bad to future employers as getting fired.

    Unless this was in the down market. Even then my resume would've been updated and out the door that afternoon. I'm not taking a demotion sitting down.

  • A Gould (unregistered)

    No, the (or rather, "a") real WTF is the idea of shutting down your support lines to reduce complaints. I also have to wonder where the sales (or executive) were during the outage - I'd have expected them to be out soothing important customers. I wonder how much business they lost simply because people couldn't get through the phone lines, assumed they'd gone out of business suddenly, and moved on...

  • Phleabo (unregistered) in reply to Devek
    Devek:
    The real problem was the use of ruby.

    I have never heard of a successful migration to Ruby in a production environment.

    There might be one or two successful sites somewhere using it, but that doesn't detract from the massive amount of failed sites that tried.

    The real problem is that you focused on a detail that had absolutely nothing to do with the failure of the project. It's pretty clear from the story that the failure was caused by the cluelessness of the management and the lack of planning for such a significant move.

    Ruby had nothing to do with it, and this isn't a story about not using the correct magic hammer to fix the problem.

  • kwerle (unregistered) in reply to Devek
    Devek:
    The real problem was the use of ruby.

    I have never heard of a successful migration to Ruby in a production environment.

    ...

    Yeah. Because there are just so many big migrations that are a screaming success.

    Ruby is a language. It does the things most other languages do.

    People screw things up as only people can.

  • php_learner (unregistered)

    In my mid-size company the Managing Director has been put in overall charge of IT. I understand that in departmental meetings his most frequent response is "So, if this was a car - what would the problem be? I know about cars."

  • Mizchief (unregistered) in reply to Matt

    Our company is starting to face these issues. We lost about half of our dev staff due to prolonged poor compensation, and now our CTO is putting is foot down and refusing to let his devs work on custom projects that have nothing to do with our core product.

    So what does management do? Do they listen to the CTO and focus on selling the product? No, they hire outside contractors to do their custom projects. Since the boss is scared of pissing off the CTO and having him leave and take the devs with him, the contractors don't communicate with the devs even though the work requires integration with our product.

  • CRNewsom (cs) in reply to php_learner
    php_learner:
    In my mid-size company the Managing Director has been put in overall charge of IT. I understand that in departmental meetings his most frequent response is "So, if this was a car - what would the problem be? I know about cars."

    I don't see this as a big WTF. The director doesn't know about IT, but he's trying to put it into terms he does know. I suggest you start learning about auto repair, or disrepair, as the case may be.

  • Rene (unregistered) in reply to CRNewsom
    I don't see this as a big WTF. The director doesn't know about IT, but he's trying to put it into terms he does know.

    If the director doesn't know anything about IT, then why is he in charge of it?

  • me (unregistered) in reply to CRNewsom
    CRNewsom:
    I don't see this as a big WTF. The director doesn't know about IT

    Let me get this straight: so you don't think that the director of IT not having the slightest clue about IT is a WTF?

  • me2i81 (unregistered) in reply to CRNewsom

    Tell him it's more like a spaceship than a car. A spaceship that's going to Mars. BBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHPPPPPPP we liftoff! Whoosh, we're on Mars! Maybe some Martians are there, and maybe they have some Martian whiskey.

  • Kevin I (unregistered)

    WOW, reading that made me almost wonder if that is what is wrong with iPower. They just did a migration, and everything was down, and now email is horribly slow even still. Haha, would have been funny (and explain a lot more then THEY seem to do).

    Great one, sad to think how often this happens. Good thing there are always alternatives.

  • DeLos (cs)

    Ever since we got rid of customer support, complaints are down!

  • Zygo (unregistered)

    I'm still trying to figure out how they can screw up so badly that a commoditized service like email can be out of commission for 120 hours (five days). What did they do, reformat the drives of the old server machines before turning on the new ones? And where did they find customers who wouldn't cancel their accounts after that kind of blunder?

    If my Internet services were out of commission for five consecutive days, I'd have already finished transitioning to some other provider by the time the original ISP had come back online (well, maybe I'd need an extra day if this happened on Easter long weekend or in late December).

    I'd have a second provider's quotation ready by the end of the first day. Hosting services don't usually need much more than a credit card to set up, and if you've done the research to purchase hosting services the first time, then you probably have a second choice already decided. The whole process should take less than an hour to set up a new account, plus the time to upload content to the new site.

    If you actually have enough volume going through your web site that a credit card is inadequate for billing, then the web site is presumably generating revenue for you, and you (should) already have a plan in place for emergency migration to a new hosting provider when the time comes. If you are so big that you do your own hosting, or contract with several providers, you can just redistribute the load around the provider that failed.

    If the original provider wasn't answering phones then I'd be sending them a registered letter to cancel my account, and I'd also be talking to my bank or credit card company. By the time I've decided to pull the plug on a hosting account I'm certainly not going to wait on their call queue. Nothing gets you in touch with ISP staff faster than a dishonoured payment or two.

  • GF (unregistered) in reply to php_learner
    php_learner:
    In my mid-size company the Managing Director has been put in overall charge of IT. I understand that in departmental meetings his most frequent response is "So, if this was a car - what would the problem be? I know about cars."
    Clearly the proper answer there is "the driver".
  • emurphy (cs) in reply to A Gould
    A Gould:
    No, the (or rather, "a") real WTF is the idea of shutting down your support lines to reduce complaints. I also have to wonder where the sales (or executive) were during the outage - I'd have expected them to be out soothing important customers. I wonder how much business they lost simply because people couldn't get through the phone lines, assumed they'd gone out of business suddenly, and moved on...

    "...and there are no trouble tickets."

    kwerle:
    Devek:
    The real problem was the use of ruby.

    I have never heard of a successful migration to Ruby in a production environment.

    ...

    Yeah. Because there are just so many big migrations that are a screaming success.

    Ruby is a language. It does the things most other languages do.

    People screw things up as only people can.

    Like the saying goes, people will fuck up an iron ball if you give them long enough.

  • TimmyT (unregistered)

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Real WTF yet: there are chicks in IT? That are good looking enough to hit on? No wonder the migration failed, too much distraction!

  • kimos (cs) in reply to me
    me:
    CRNewsom:
    I don't see this as a big WTF. The director doesn't know about IT

    Let me get this straight: so you don't think that the director of IT not having the slightest clue about IT is a WTF?

    It's not nearly as uncommon as you'd think.

  • Smash (unregistered) in reply to DeLos
    DeLos:
    Ever since we got rid of customer support, complaints are down!
    ... and so is income.
  • akatherder (cs) in reply to php_learner
    php_learner:
    In my mid-size company the Managing Director has been put in overall charge of IT. I understand that in departmental meetings his most frequent response is "So, if this was a car - what would the problem be? I know about cars."

    I had a manager who wanted me to use car metaphors too. I informed him that I know very little about cars, so I could only give him a range:

    "The issue's severity falls between the passenger side rear hubcap falling off and someone stealing your engine in the middle of the night."

    After I ran out of HUGE ranges, I started making up car parts: "It's pretty much like a cracked casing on the samoflange."

  • OriginalPseudonym (unregistered) in reply to kimos
    kimos:
    me:
    CRNewsom:
    I don't see this as a big WTF. The director doesn't know about IT

    Let me get this straight: so you don't think that the director of IT not having the slightest clue about IT is a WTF?

    It's not nearly as uncommon as you'd think.

    Personally, I'd say that makes it both A.) More WTF-worthy and B.) Extremely depressing.

  • Schnapple (unregistered) in reply to Phleabo
    Phleabo:
    Devek:
    The real problem was the use of ruby.

    I have never heard of a successful migration to Ruby in a production environment.

    There might be one or two successful sites somewhere using it, but that doesn't detract from the massive amount of failed sites that tried.

    The real problem is that you focused on a detail that had absolutely nothing to do with the failure of the project. It's pretty clear from the story that the failure was caused by the cluelessness of the management and the lack of planning for such a significant move.

    Ruby had nothing to do with it, and this isn't a story about not using the correct magic hammer to fix the problem.

    But does no one think that perhaps if he had used a better tool, maybe something production-ready (yes, strike me down with your flames) that he could have made the deadline in the first place and this whole mess could have been avoided?

    TRWTF though is that instead of bringing in a team to help him, they brought in a team to replace him. Or maybe it was that he, apparently, still hasn't tried to get the hell out of there yet and is content with being demoted from development to systems administration. Not to say that systems administration is akin to janitorial work or something but the fact that he hasn't even attempted to get another development job elsewhere seems to me that he was more of a "fell into programming" type.

  • SomeCoder (unregistered) in reply to Schnapple
    Schnapple:
    Phleabo:
    Devek:
    The real problem was the use of ruby.

    I have never heard of a successful migration to Ruby in a production environment.

    There might be one or two successful sites somewhere using it, but that doesn't detract from the massive amount of failed sites that tried.

    The real problem is that you focused on a detail that had absolutely nothing to do with the failure of the project. It's pretty clear from the story that the failure was caused by the cluelessness of the management and the lack of planning for such a significant move.

    Ruby had nothing to do with it, and this isn't a story about not using the correct magic hammer to fix the problem.

    But does no one think that perhaps if he had used a better tool, maybe something production-ready (yes, strike me down with your flames) that he could have made the deadline in the first place and this whole mess could have been avoided?

    TRWTF though is that instead of bringing in a team to help him, they brought in a team to replace him. Or maybe it was that he, apparently, still hasn't tried to get the hell out of there yet and is content with being demoted from development to systems administration. Not to say that systems administration is akin to janitorial work or something but the fact that he hasn't even attempted to get another development job elsewhere seems to me that he was more of a "fell into programming" type.

    I think this could be argued either way: Ruby isn't really appropriate for most production environments in my opinion and could have led to the schedule slipping.

    On the other hand, assuming that one person can do the work of two (since the other guy was constantly pulled off for other projects) is a total management WTF, though a common one.

    In my opinion, the WTF is with management and not Ruby though you could easily argue that Ruby contributed.

  • SomeOtherCoder (unregistered) in reply to SomeCoder
    Comment held for moderation.
  • SomeCoder (unregistered) in reply to SomeOtherCoder
    Comment held for moderation.
  • SomeOtherCoder (unregistered) in reply to SomeCoder
    SomeCoder:
    I'm glad you think it's uninformed, however, I'd be interested to know exactly how your magnificent brain magically came to that conclusion based on one random web post.

    Next time, try arguing your point rather than simply throwing insults and quoting random web comics. The latter makes you look "uninformed" and really leaves my point unchallenged. If you really think that Ruby is fine for production work then give arguments to support that and I'll listen. Perhaps you can even convince me. Otherwise, don't even bother replying.

    You first! You might want to look up the word irony too.

  • fzammetti (cs)

    Look, I hate to be THAT guy, but...

    Where's the WTF exactly?!?

    Stupid managers is not a WTF, it's par for the case. Junior developers (which this guy clearly was if he couldn't get enough Ruby in his brain after two months to get things on-track) being given too much responsibility is not a WTF, it too is par for the course. A company that has one guy that can do what's necessary and then proceeds to bog him down with other stuff is not a WTF, it's all too common (I've been that guy on numerous ocassions). Idiots who take a manual approach to what is obviously a task ripe for automation (as evidenced by the fact that Marcin had ALREADY AUTOMATED IT) is not a WTF, it happens every single day unfortunately.

    No, I don't see WTF(s) here, I see what is all-too-typical in the business world when it comes to IT. Unrealistic goals, expecting miracles (and then not giving the reigns to the actual miracle workers who might stand a chance at pulling it off), RAMPANT stupidity at every level. Sorry to say, that's the world we live in, this story isn't atypical in any regard, which means by definition it can't really be a WTF (unless you expand WTF to mean "pointing out sutpidity that is blatantly obvious to most of us", then ok, fine, I guess I'm wrong).

  • WhiskeyJack (cs)

    Geez. Sounds like my previous hosting company (VizaWeb). Used to be great, and come highly recommended... then there were outages lasting days, and finally one day my customers were greeted to the dreaded "This account has been suspended" when they tried to visit my website. I left email after email in their support system (they had no phone number to call) and guess what, I didn't get any response! Except for the one when I demanded a refund after cancelling my account... then I got a curt "there will be no refund as per our terms of service agreement" or something like that.

    I not only had the incovenience of a downed website (the night before I left for out of town, too), I had no backups of a number of the SQL-backended stuff like a wiki, photo gallery, etc. Stupid me for thinking that our web host could be a reasonably permanent document repository.

    To this day I have no idea why my account was simply terminated with no notice. I'm with DreamHost now, and much happier (so far).

    And now we make backups.

  • Monday (cs)

    Sounds like the tech equivalent of "Hey, watch this!"

  • kodama (unregistered)

    The really real WTF is that nobody has posted a comment of sufficient quality to make it to the "featured comments" section.

    :)

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to kwerle
    kwerle:
    Devek:
    The real problem was the use of ruby.

    I have never heard of a successful migration to Ruby in a production environment.

    ...

    Yeah. Because there are just so many big migrations that are a screaming success.

    Ruby is a language. It does the things most other languages do.

    People screw things up as only people can.

    Including creating new computer languages.

  • Linuxil (unregistered) in reply to SomeCoder
    SomeCoder:
    If you really think that Ruby is fine for production work then give arguments to support that and I'll listen.
    Ruby is a mature language. It's stable. Available for many OS. Many ports to other applications are available.

    It's a frakking high level language. No high level language I know is suitable for every use.

    And I'm not the first one using it for active production environments.

    SomeCoder:
    Perhaps you can even convince me.
    Convince a troll? That would be a miracle.
  • fluffy (unregistered)

    I get the strong feeling that Marcin's manager learned how to manage by watching too many James Bond movie villains.

  • Anonymous (unregistered)

    COBOL is awesome, if you disagree, you're a troll.

    <smartass webcomic, probably xkcd, to which I regularly masturbate>

  • JOHN (unregistered)

    I started reading, and saw "Java", and thought "Ah, that's going to be the WTF. Such a retarded language."

    Then I saw "Javascript" and thought "Oh man, now THAT's got to be the WTF. Javascript is such a little troll of a language. Too bad it's a necessary Evil for web development... until Silverlight is out at least."

    Then I saw "Ruby" and thought "LOL, oh shit, it just keeps getting worse! Now that's going to be the real WTF for sure! Ruby, what the hell. The only thing that could make this worse is if they mix a little Perl or PHP in."

    Then I saw "PHP" and thought "Well, they're boned. Now they truly have reached the bottom of the barrel."

    I find it odd how in an article with 4 WTF languages, Java actually ended up being the least WTF of them all.

  • real_aardvark (cs) in reply to SomeOtherCoder
    SomeOtherCoder:
    SomeCoder:
    I'm glad you think it's uninformed, however, I'd be interested to know exactly how your magnificent brain magically came to that conclusion based on one random web post.

    Next time, try arguing your point rather than simply throwing insults and quoting random web comics. The latter makes you look "uninformed" and really leaves my point unchallenged. If you really think that Ruby is fine for production work then give arguments to support that and I'll listen. Perhaps you can even convince me. Otherwise, don't even bother replying.

    You first! You might want to look up the word irony too.

    OK, I did. Apparently it means "nice and flat and full of creases in the right place, and smelling of Pledge."

    We both really have to buy a new dictionary. In your case, you might even want to dip into it every now and again.

    There appear to be a number of Ruby fan-boys on this thread. Let me be clear: I have nothing at all against Ruby (and I'm not entirely convinced that devek does, either).

    This "detail" that seemingly had "absolutely nothing to do with the failure of the project" seems fairly important to me, but not because it relates to your beloved language.

    Let me see. They build an insane, crippled mountain of Java calling JSP calling Javascript via evals, and suddenly they realise they have a scalability problem (amongst other, more obvious ones). What to do?

    I know: we listened to a bunch of bleeding-edge cretins with their fancy-schmanzy talk of Frameworks five years ago, and that didn't work. Now we have to pick one of two choices:

    (1) Re-implement it using established tool-sets, libraries, and third-party products, or (2) Listen to the latest bunch of evangelists, and use Ruby.

    Consequence? "The cost of maintenance became too much, so Marcin was brought on to update it to a Ruby application."

    I love the word "update" in the morning. It smells like the CTO/Chief Architect/Evangelist shat his pants.

    Rail on, guys.

  • Franz Kafka (unregistered) in reply to Schnapple
    Schnapple:
    But does no one think that perhaps if he had used a better tool, maybe something production-ready (yes, strike me down with your flames) that he could have made the deadline in the first place and this whole mess could have been avoided?

    TRWTF though is that instead of bringing in a team to help him, they brought in a team to replace him. Or maybe it was that he, apparently, still hasn't tried to get the hell out of there yet and is content with being demoted from development to systems administration. Not to say that systems administration is akin to janitorial work or something but the fact that he hasn't even attempted to get another development job elsewhere seems to me that he was more of a "fell into programming" type.

    Ruby is just fine; it's not even the reason for the failure.

    Now then, removing the other guy built into the schedule and responding to a delay by demoting the remaining guy is TRWTF, compounded by refusing to use the migration scripts as written. I won't comment on the guy's creer asiprations - not relevant to the CF in this place.

  • xybre (cs)

    Why are people so anti-ruby? It's just a language, it's japanese, it's enjoyable to program in, thousands of "enterprise" sites are run on ruby, I don't need to rip on php or asp to make myself feel better, I know people who do both. What does it really matter?

    "A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." - Max Planck

    Note I'm not saying Ruby is the end-all be-all, just that people always make fun of the new guy.

  • Franz Kafka (unregistered) in reply to real_aardvark
    real_aardvark:
    OK, I did. Apparently it means "nice and flat and full of creases in the right place, and smelling of Pledge."

    We both really have to buy a new dictionary. In your case, you might even want to dip into it every now and again.

    There appear to be a number of Ruby fan-boys on this thread. Let me be clear: I have nothing at all against Ruby (and I'm not entirely convinced that devek does, either).

    This "detail" that seemingly had "absolutely nothing to do with the failure of the project" seems fairly important to me, but not because it relates to your beloved language.

    Let me see. They build an insane, crippled mountain of Java calling JSP calling Javascript via evals, and suddenly they realise they have a scalability problem (amongst other, more obvious ones). What to do?

    I know: we listened to a bunch of bleeding-edge cretins with their fancy-schmanzy talk of Frameworks five years ago, and that didn't work. Now we have to pick one of two choices:

    (1) Re-implement it using established tool-sets, libraries, and third-party products, or (2) Listen to the latest bunch of evangelists, and use Ruby.

    Consequence? "The cost of maintenance became too much, so Marcin was brought on to update it to a Ruby application."

    I love the word "update" in the morning. It smells like the CTO/Chief Architect/Evangelist shat his pants.

    Rail on, guys.

    Hey, ruby works fine - it's a matter of properly architecting a solution, not the details of which language you use. Sounds like they had a decent plan, got impatient, and fucked it up real bad.

  • mfah (cs) in reply to Franz Kafka
    Franz Kafka:
    it's a matter of properly architecting a solution, not the details of which language you use. Sounds like they had a decent plan, got impatient, and fucked it up real bad.
    Absolutely. Whether Ruby would have worked or not is a totally irrelevant point here, this was just yet another sadly typical case of management panicking and changing everything halfway through.
  • GrandmasterB (unregistered)

    Going from overworked and over-stressed.... to being able to surf the net and chat up the ladies all day? That sounds like a promotion to me.

    Did they keep paying him the same? If so, he got a good deal!

Leave a comment on “Gears in Demotion”

Log In or post as a guest

Replying to comment #:

« Return to Article