Oh, THAT SMP!

Mainframe database pilot fish is responsible for supporting two divisions at this big bank -- and they're not on the same page when it comes to rolling out software updates.

"There's some tension between me and the divisions as to when software updates become available from the vendor for testing, and later migration into production," says fish.

"Alpha division wants action only when a problem occurs. Beta division wants a test environment fully updated with the latest software."

For a year, fish handles the situation as best he can. Then he's told that Beta division will be breaking off to their own supported data-center environment.

That works for fish, but he wants to make sure there will be a smooth transition for the division, so he asks the Beta VP whether they're conversant with IBM's SMP change management system, which the bank's software requires.

Beta VP responds that all the application and support staff have been trained. That's something not commonly done, fish thinks, but OK.

"I'm asked to set up the latest environment at the new site, leave all the documentation there, assist with Beta getting licenses, and walk them through any questions," fish says. "This is completed, applications are migrated, and the site is fully functional."

When the next monthly update is released by the vendor, fish has an issue with some of the updates. He doesn't add them to the environment.

The following update is a quarterly update with additions, along with corrections to resolve those previous monthly issues, so fish adds them to the environment.

Two weeks after that, fish gets a call from the VP in Beta, who complains that the updates won't work. It must be an issue with the system that fish installed, VP says, and he'd better come over to fix it.

Fish tells his his boss what's going on and then heads over to Beta's data center.

"After asking some questions and looking at the updates attempted, I notice that the updates were attempted using a commercial third-party vendor source-code management system and not SMP, the required software," says fish.

"I advise the VP of what I've found. The VP's response: 'SMP huh?'"

Sharky's favorite acronym is TTOITL. Send me your own true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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