Maintenance Fire Drill

My new job has me reporting to the client's site every day. This particular client has some visitor parking. But it is limited and runs out quickly. There is some paid parking in the area. But it is expensive and a longer walk to the job site. So I get in early every day now.

Today I got in early as usual. One of our customers warned me that a high priority trouble ticket was issued in production. This is my third day on the job. But when a customer says something is high priority, I get right on it. I called up the sys admin at the site where they reported the problem. Users were getting kicked out of the application due to some Oracle errors.

The nature of the errors sounded like a database problem. Specifically I thought that the database itself may have gone down. But I have no computer so it is difficult to make progress. I thought I knew the phone number of the DBA lead. But when I tried to call him, I just got a message that said I should call the Help Desk. So I try the Help Desk phone number instead. I was surprised to hear the development manager answer the phone. I told him what was up, and he said he would get the DBA lead to call me back. I got that return call quickly. The DBA lead was getting ready to come in. He gave me some contacts at the production site that could check the status of the Oracle database listener. I found a developer who actually has a computer and has e-mail, so I shot off an e-mail to some production DBAs.

Then I went to another coworker to see if we could replicate the problem. This guy did not have any of the applications installed on his computer. That seemed wrong since he was an application developer. So I helped him install the apps. They gave an error. I asked him whether he had installed the Oracle 8 client. He said no. I tried to start the install of the Oracle 8 client on his machine, but gave up when the install started having some problems. By that time I spotted another developer that I used to work with. She had both the applications and the Oracle 8 client installed on her machine. She let me try to log into production. I did not find any problems with the application working in the production environment.

At this time I got a call from the development manager. He said he spoke to our sponsor in the customer organization, who relayed the fact that the problem was no longer happening. The production DBAs were going to close out the ticket. Our responsibility was to research why this problem happened in the first place. I determined that this was a job for our DBA Team. By this time in my career, I am used to fire drills like this. It comes with the job of doing software maintenance. But things are especially painful to me because I do not have a computer yet. I chuckled all morning when people came in late, and started asking around whether anybody addressed the high priority problem yet.

In the afternoon, application development had a team meeting. We were told how the duties for our team would be distributed. I was informed that I would be in charge of production support, with one or two developers acting as my backup. Could this be a reward for jumping on the high priority problem this morning? I don't know. But I do know I will be adding great value in production as soon as I get that computer.