Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Operations is my customer

So I got a chance to partake in a Franklin Covey Leadership Training exercise several weeks ago. I was not sure what I would take out of the training and whether it would be beneficial. I was extremely impressed by its content, focus and most importantly the instructor. Long story short the class tried to identify what is a leader and how to become an effective one. As part of the sessions a discussion around identifying your customer came up. For the current customer I am working for, it is a little interesting in that with middleware there are many customers. Specifically though once in production, operations becomes a major customer.

What I learned is that to make an effective middleware platform, quality comes in the flavors of Reliability, Scalability, Manageability. When these quality attributes skip a beat or fail to occur, Operations has to swoop into action. The benefit of the training underscored the need for me to develop simpler and more capable tools to handle customer issues. Additionally, the increasing complexity of our SOA has begun to exacerbate the monitoring and management once in production. Log4J logs, JMX and Management Services become the virtual console for operations and development.

While these solutions may not occur immediately, I am working with them to define best practices, provide training and eventually automate solutions. This has resulted in reduced operational issues as well as increased self-reliance. Most importantly, this process never ends and must continue to be executed to provide consistency of results.

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