Flashback to the 1980s, when this company in the insurance industry is trying to speed up report delivery, according to a pilot fish in the loop.
"The goal was to allow the users to hit a function key to start a batch process and route the output to the local printer in their building, instead of the building the mainframe was in," fish says.
"The meetings were held, the code was added so that the database management system would submit the batch job and then the output would route back to the printer. The hardware was in place."
Then it's time for the first test of the new functionality. Fish goes to the area where the database administrators work and takes over a terminal there to submit the job on the test system.
Two DBAs are standing by to monitor from there too. The senior-most DBA is in the computer room to monitor from the console. And the head of IT security is sitting next to fish, following the process.
With everyone ready, fish hits the function key.
And a moment later, the DBMS goes down.
It immediately starts to recover -- and then goes right back down.
Once again the DBMS comes back up, and this time it's successful -- but the job being submitted is gone.
"So what happened?" says fish. "It seems the security guy did not give the DBMS the authority to submit batch jobs, so when it tried to do so, the security system brought the DBMS down. The restart was working, until it got to the point of trying to submit the job again -- and the security program brought the DBMS back down. The next time, the DBA in the console room killed the job submission before it got that far.
"After it recovered, the security guy granted the correct authority to the DBMS and the job worked perfectly. But to this day, I think that's a record: bringing down a major DBMS twice with one keystroke!"
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