One with data

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One with data

On September 8, 2010, Posted by , In Mike Pilcher, With No Comments

This was sent to me while I was working on our upcoming SAND CDBMS 6 launch:

>**Tuesday 10:41am:** I am in my office. It’s small, a bit modern, and there are photographs of my family on my desk. My phone rings. I answer, it is the head of our Data Warehouse Group. He tells me we are ready to go live on our new Data Warehouse. We spent a lot of time and money on this. I had to sell my CEO hard on the decision. I have been told it is the market’s leading relational database appliance. It is going to be fast. Really fast. It is the Bugatti Veyron of databases. Woo hoo!!!! We are going live on a Tuesday to give IT the long holiday weekend to get the data stable. Yippee kai yay!!!! Here we go baby!

>**Tuesday 10:42am:** I open the weekly merchandising report. This report used to take the whole weekend to run. I have been told it will be sub-second. I press “Run report”. Hmm. Is this mouse working? I click again. Some little Windows Frisbee is spinning. Did they really think replacing the hour glass would fool me? I know when I am waiting. The screen is now immobile and more intransigent than a lawyer. It’s OK. I can be persuasive. I can use the keyboard. The screen displays something new, “The FLANGE BRACKET in the CONNECT_DATABUCKET of the TLA UNDRESS DESCRIPTION is not correct or is not supported.” No. That can’t be right. What the hell does that even mean? Damn thing is not responding to kicks or verbal bribes. OK. I will work smooth charm. I press the buttons. Nope. Another message with lots of BLOCK CAPITALS and U_N_D__E_R_S____C_O__R_E_S in little annoying pixels that look like they written on a 1970’s typewriter.

>**Tuesday 10:43am:** Wait. Something’s not right. The lights are dimming in the office. Something is sucking all the power. What the hell? I’m the CFO. My office has an electronic lock on it. What the hell? I try the door. Locked. I remember there was something I was told during induction about a manual override. I was thinking about my last golf game. What did he say? Kick the door? Nope. Yell. Nope. Dammit. No problem. I press the button on my phone that says, “IT Support”. Cool. I will be out in a moment. Half a moment.

>**Tuesday 10:44am:** Somebody in an outsourced call centre answers. That’s right. I outsourced IT. OK. No problem. It will all be OK. I calmly explain I am stuck in my office. Yes I am on my own (why does that matter?) I tell myself it will all be OK. I ask the simple question, “When will the engineer get here?” No clue. OK, five minutes or five hours? Apparently time is relative and relative to me it is not relevant. No problem. I will wait. I thank them very much for their kind attention. I am Zen.

>**Tuesday 10:46am:** Still Zen. Om.

>**Tuesday 10:47am:** OK. Not Zen. Where the hell is the engineer? This is a very small office. Is there enough air in here? I start to calculate my lung capacity and the size of the room. I calculate I have at least 14 hours of air. So why is it so stuffy? Zen. Om. You lived in California for ten years. Om.

>**Tuesday 10:48am:** Screw Om. Where is the damn engineer.? I start to calculate the time it would take to get from Mumbai to West London. I don’t much like those numbers. I think I need to pee. Not actually sure I do, but in the event I do. What does one do? Search for a urinal. No urinal in my office. Hmm. My screen is still frozen other than that annoying spinny thing. No directions to a urinal. Om. Damnit.

>**Tuesday 10:51am:** I am fine. I am not in my office. I am in fact on the golf course. Om. OK. I don’t even make a minute of this crap. I am in my office and I don’t want to be here. I want to get out. Somewhere there is a data appliance on fire. I am convinced. I can smell the smoke from here. I think the data centre’s in Des Moines, but I am sure I can smell it.

>**Tuesday 10:52am:** I try to CTRL/ALT/DEL. It appears that no combination of the buttons causes anything other than mild cramp in my fingers. It’s just software for Christ’s sake. Om.

>**Tuesday 10:54am:** I remember all those films where people escape from tight spaces. In this case there is no escape hatch. Despite pushing on every surface there is no hidden escape. Om. Om?

>**Tuesday 10:55am:** I decide to actually be Zen. I have seen the Shawshank Redemption. You can be locked in a small space for decades. OK that’s boring. I try to tunnel my way out. I get my house keys and start scratching at the imaginary poster of Rita Hayworth. Damn I hate concrete. Om.

>**Tuesday 10:57am:** I am now angry. Hell what did I do? I ran a report. So the hell what. Damn the appliance. Damn my CIO. Damn.

>**Tuesday 10:58am:** OK Om. I am better than this. What did Captain Kirk do when taken prisoner on that damn starship every week? I have no ray gun. Damn. I decide to count the spots on the ceiling of the office.

>**Tuesday 10:59am:** There are 4,992 spots on 70 tiles. I might not have counted them all. 10 rows of 7 titles each. Or is it 7 columns of 10 tiles. I remember my CIO saying something about columns. Faster than Veyron fast columns. But my golfing buddy sold appliances. Ginormous appliances that make Windows Frisbees spin so damn fast they suck all the air out of my office.

>**Tuesday 11.00am:** Calling Mumbai. I calmly I explain again I am stuck in my office again. No I am not stuck in it again, I am calling again. Augh! Yes I am on my own (why does that still matter?) I tell myself it will all be OK. I ask the simple question, “When will they engineer get here?” No clue. OK, ten minutes or ten hours? You don’t know? No problem. I will wait.

>**Tuesday 11.01am:** OK tired of waiting I call Mumbai again. I talk to Simon (who I suspect this may not actually be his name). I enquire if I give them four hundred dollars, how long will it take? Still no idea. Om.

>**Tuesday 11.02am:** I sink to the floor and sit quietly rocking back and forth. Om. I decide this is all my fault. I did not speak nicely enough to the waiter last night, or I ignored a needy homeless person. It is all my fault. I am stuck in my office. I am sorry. I decide my penance shall be to sit quietly until help comes and I am liberated. I sit quietly. I set the stop watch on my Swiss time piece to make certain I do not trouble the kind people in Mumbai. It is not their fault. It is mine. I am humble. I sit and meditate. If I am here for the next four days, it is my recompense. All will be good. I look at my watch. 11 hours have gone by. My bladder does not hurt. I am not hungry. I can share this advanced state of mind with all I meet. For I am Zen.

>**Tuesday 11.04am:** Upon deeper analysis apparently less than 2 minutes have passed. No, that cannot be right. The little bitty hand on my sports watch tells me it is only 1 minute and 55 seconds since I was last Zen.

>**Tuesday 11.05am:** I call Mumbai. We have the whole, “when is the engineer dude getting here” conversation and I follow with. “Let’s assume there’s a fire in the building and I am stuck. Now what happens?” “Is there a fire?” “Assume there is Simon, now what?” The phone goes quiet. Muzak ensures.

>**Tuesday 11.15am:** I am in fact now really Zen. All is good. I am in a green field and the world smells of posies.

>**Tuesday 11.25am:** Om. Om. Omomomomomomom.

>**Tuesday 11.26am:** Noises. I hear a door buzzer go. At last. I am saved. I will live. There is air, there is water. Now one buzzer. Another. Is everyone in the office asleep?

>**Tuesday 11.28am:** I think I may be embarrassed. There are four big men in fireman uniforms at my office door. Apparently there was a fire. In my office. Somebody told them.

>**Tuesday 11.44am:** I am back at my desk. The door is open. Power is back. There’s a spinny thing on my screen. I kick it. Where the hell’s my CIO? Someone once told me about SAND. I thought they were talking about avoiding the bunker, but now that I think about it they were talking about blisteringly fast databases. I grab my BlackBerry.

Sorry, phone’s ringing. Back soon.

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