Wednesday, September 24, 2008

HPT Infrastructure: Top 5 wastes of an infrastructure consultant’s time

Top 5 wastes of an infrastructure consultant’s time

There are many reasons a project can go over-budget. In the world of Hyperion Infrastructure the most common ones can be avoided. If you take the time to completely understand all the tasks needed of them before your infrastructure consultant arrived, you would save a great deal of money. Or, perhaps, be able to spend that time learning about your environment and its care and feeding.

1) Download the software before the consultant gets there.

When in doubt, download it. If you download something that you don’t need it is ok, but if you don’t get everything you pay for a consultant to watch a status-bar!

2) Create your databases and give the proper permissions.

Normally you'll receive a list of Databases (or user/schemas in the case of oracle) along with a list of permission. Make sure you follow this, in the case of FDM there are special requirements that need to be met.

3) Order the servers AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

I know that no-one wants to have capital expenses depreciating on their cost center any longer than they have to. But please remember that your IT department is likely to be very busy with everyone else’s requests. Furthermore next day shipping doesn’t mean that the vender has the servers in stock or that they are even built, it just means when they get around to shipping it, you’ll get it the day after. I've honestly been stuck waiting (and billing) until Wednesday of the *SECOND WEEK* for equipment to be ready. My record before that was noon on a Friday (in that case we were merely waiting for a network cable to be plugged in). In any case I cannot stress enough ORDER YOUR EQUIPMENT EARLY PLEASE!

4) Ensure that you have the appropriate meetings with your infrastructure consultant ahead of time.

Only you can know what’s appropriate. I’ve had simple customers want 10 meetings about something simple (waste of your time) and I’ve had extremely complex customers with complicated (and battling) political factions have only one short meeting. If you have 1 it guy that can do it all, have one good meeting. If you have a complicated it department (even if the environment isn’t) get all the parties involved. It's NOT going to help anything if we finish an installation with automatic deployment, get ready to go live, and find out that your IT department won’t support you because it has to be manually deployed with custom ports!!! This HAS HAPPENED more than once!

5) Ensure that your IT department is on-board with the installation.

I've been at customers who ticked their IT department off so badly that they wouldn’t provide simple DBA support. I can handle this if given the keys to the kingdom, and most likely if your IT department behaves like this your environment will be better off with me doing everything anyways. However, I will one day leave. While I very much appreciate all the after hours billing, you won’t appreciate waiting for me to be done for the day with my present client so that I can put your production environment back together after someone mistakenly trashed it!

6) Get involved with the installation (you didn’t think that I would actually stop at 5 did you?)

The preferred method of installation is for me to build the first environment so that your applications consultants (or internal people) can get working/testing ASAP (remember the applications consultants are billing you too). This is the fastest way to bring an environment up. But on the second installation PLEASE sit with me in a conference room (bring a projector please) and we'll do the installation with you driving. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to bill you every single day to Webex in and handle your minutia, but it's far more efficient if you understand your environment and can handle these things by yourself. I suggest having at least one IT person in the room and your Hyperion support person as well. This way there is always at least 2 people who understand exactly what Hyperion is doing, and can come to the rescue at quarter end when the CFO is shaking his/her fist at you because they don’t have the numbers to report.