Platonism and IT, an unbeatable combination
Socrates and Plato, the two Greek philosophers are incredibly relevant to IT today. Plato was the pupil of Socrates and, as Socrates never wrote down any of his ideas, but Plato did, their theories are now known as Platonism. Platonism refers to the intellectual consequences of denying the reality of the material world. Everything we see and experience is derived from a perfect “idea” and the derived “reality” of that idea is always imperfect. So there is a difference between what we think is real and the real reality.
So how does that relate to IT? Performance is always a theme and is what end users are concerned about. However, when IT implements or runs a (virtual) IT infrastructure, the idea of the implementation does not always match with what the users’ experience or reality.
Those of us living in IT sometimes act as if reality does not exist. IT infrastructures, especially virtual ones, are often designed based on how we think it will perform. And how often do we use a structured approach to predict, manage and control IT performance? Is this ignorance, arrogance, or a false confidence in knowing the outcome? Compare IT to the automobile industry, as an example. Whether it’s a high end, big and expensive BMW or Mercedes to a small and cheaper KIA (nothing wrong with a KIA), you are very grateful that the car is tested over and over again before it was taken into production. And during the car’s lifetime it is also continuously tested. So when you drive the cars with your kids and family you should not have to worry. With rare exceptions, performance and quality of what you bought are extremely predictable.
So why do we take testing for granted in one industry but we are so negligent about it in another? Last week, a company told me that they had missed the “window of opportunity” to test their VDI. Think about it. Volkswagen sells you a car and after it has been delivered they tell you that they “missed the window of opportunity to test it.”
I know companies that have IT testing in their DNA. Nothing is changed in any phase and in any stage without being tested thoroughly. Other companies started testing when they have hit the wall and do not know where performance issues come from. And I know many companies that never test. Where users simply accept what is there waste time and money on frustration and not being able to work.
At Login VSI, we have received numerous calls because companies had big performance issues and urgently needed help to find the cause. They never tested new software patches or knew what impact updates would have on the performance of their virtual infrastructure. They never put their system on a full load “now and then” to see what would break first so that they could have been prepared. Did they know what would happen during boot storms or even worse, after a disaster and recovery? No, they did not. Every time they were taken by surprise by unexpected performance issues.
It is time to start using a structured approach so that IT is in control. Test regularly and compare different situations to get meaningful data about the performance and know what the impact on the performance of those different situations will be. Keep in mind what Plato and Socrates were trying to say to us: the “idea” of what we think is good for the users might, in reality, not be good enough.