Upgrading IOS

There is something both productive and pointless about upgrading the IOS on network switches. I know I'm doing something worthwhile but no one else in the office has a clue why they are getting inconvenienced by equipment that hasn't been rebooted in over 3 years. Try explaining that to a person who sets Windows servers to reboot every two weeks 'just to be safe'

"I need to schedule overtime to upgrade the switches and reboot them. The last time they were power cycled was in 2008"
"So... they've been running for over 3 years without error and you want to fiddle with them?"
"Kinda. I want to upgrade the IOS so we can leverage rapid spanning-tree and a better QOS command set"
"I have no idea what you just said. Here's the deal, will it interrupt users?"
"It could potentially cause some errors for users with after-market switches at their desks..."
"Then you need to let the users know."

Dear Users-

There will be a scheduled maintenance after hours tonight that might effect connectivity at your location. You many or may not encounter issues where Outlook will complain of lost connection for several hours even though it has one. It's also possible your illegal file sharing applications, that are sucking all the Internet bandwidth, will crash.

This of course means you'll blame the upgrade for any computer issue you might see tomorrow, including why your PDA won't sync to Windows. I didn't really want to tell you what I was doing tonight but my boss made us.

After all this is completed and functional, you will not be able to notice any significant changes.

Your ever caring network administrator

Now the users and my boss are both aware that I do stuff that appears lacking in merit. I know it's important to have the right QOS on the network especially with Voice over IP and video conferencing in our environment, but it's hardly a glamorous upgrade. We were just in a meeting where everyone was justifying their existence for the month. Mine justification seemed quite lacking.

"I'm installing readers to increase work flow and allow clients faster access to our services."
"Excellent! Janice?"
"We're rolling out a new interactive voice response to lessen the burden on the incoming call queue."
"Wow! Peter?"
"I'm causing intermittent network errors on hundreds of our users computers in order to replace IOS 12.1.9 with 12.1.22 on all 50 switches..."
"Ah... okay then."

In some ways that's just IT. No one really cares how it works, until it doesn't. And if we don't take the initiative to keep the nodes up to date, you're going to find yourself in a pickle when your manager walks in a declares a new direction. If you haven't experienced yet, then buckle up 'cause your due.

"The execs just decided we are going to replace all the old phones with VoIP units."
"What?! When?"
"Next week. It should be awesome-"
"You know they won't work on or network. You told them that, right?!"
"Why? What have you done to it?!!"

So we do the thankless tasks and realize that in the end, it's better to be overlooked and left alone then blamed for errors you could have prevented. In many ways it's just a selfish method for keeping people from showing up at my door. And that slice of realization is worth almost any effort I can muster!


Becky said...

I'm trying to read this on my blackberry, but it isn't syncing now. What have you evil geniuses done?

kludge said...

Oh crap. The users have found me.

"This is all just theoretical.. All emails are sent with the utmost sincerity!"