Your lack of planning…

…is not my emergency.

A while back, a customer contacted us, saying that they either needed to have a particular piece of software* installed, or that a change* needed to be performed on one of the servers which we operate for them. The former was very much not an option, as said software was not only end of life, but had also been forcibly uninstalled due to several well-known (and readily exploitable) vulnerabilities.

The solution, then, was to perform the change requested. Standard maintenance work happens on a schedule, and we would simply schedule the work and go on with our day, right? Alas, not right. You see, the customer in question hadn’t planned, hadn’t checked whether the prerequisite steps had been taken in order to do what they needed to do, and now found themselves in a bit of a pickle, as they were now “unable to work”.

There are, of course, several issues with this. One issue is that they have been made repeatedly aware of the problem, but have declined to have action taken previously. Another issue is the fact that the alternative solution would require some serious work which would cause downtime, not only for the system* in question, but also for a number of other systems, as they too relied on the same base system*.

The issue was, eventually, resolved in the normal order of things, but not until we’d gone three rounds with the end user, ultimately having to tell them outright that we simply weren’t able to do what they wanted in the timeframe they wanted it to be done. Not only did we not have the personnel available to do it, but both our and the customers change control systems would preclude it.


*I’m being deliberately obtuse here. What software and what systems we’re talking about is entirely incidental to the narrative and the post as a whole.

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