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5 dysfunctional IT relationships -- and how to repair them

Dan Tynan | Oct. 2, 2012
Sys admins are from Mars, developers are from Venus, and legal is from hell -- here's how to heal friction among IT factions

"All of the velocity gains we've made on the dev side won't translate to business value until the same velocity is achieved on the ops side," says Adam. "Enterprises need both speed and control, enabling developers to rapidly provision what they need while also satisfying IT's need for governance. A private PaaS solution can align both of their interests."

Enterprises operating their own private clouds should consider a converged infrastructure, which could allow the dev team to spin up their own virtual machines as needed for building and testing code, says Damarillo. That would give them the ability to rapidly deploy in real-world conditions while still ensuring the safety and uptime ops demands.

Dysfunctional IT relationship No. 5: Sys admins vs. the worldLet me put this bluntly: The sys admins at our company are impossible. They're constantly nagging us to change our passwords (which are hard enough to remember as it is), haranguing us about software licenses, or insisting we follow some arcane procedure. But when we ask them to do something the business needs, the answer is almost always no. I'm tempted to bypass IT entirely and get what I need from the cloud, only I'm afraid the admins will change the passwords and lock us all out of the network. Frustrated & fearful

When you hold the keys to the kingdom, it's easy to create fiefdoms. For years, the admin's word was absolute. Users had to adhere to strict policies and procedures or get locked out. When admins spend all their time just getting systems to work properly, change is something to avoid at all costs -- in case something breaks and they have to fix it. Every so often, one of them will go rogue and cause real damage.

But think about it from the admin's point of view. GFI Software recently surveyed more than 200 U.S. sys admins. The results: 85 percent said their personal lives were negatively affected by their jobs, and more than two-thirds have considered switching careers because of the stress involved. Every day, they have to deal with clueless users (not you, of course) who ask them to do ridiculous things.

"An overwhelming number of IT administrators said they've received support calls from users who are apparently unaware that computers don't operate without power," notes Dodi Glenn, product manager for GFI Software, which provides IT solutions for small businesses. "To cite just one example, a frustrated admin told us that a user had plugged a power strip 'into itself' and couldn't figure out why his computer wasn't powering up."

While writing your network password on a sticky note affixed to your monitor may keep you from forgetting it or deliberately downloading malware just to "see what will happen" may satisfy your curiosity, these things will drive IT admins insane.


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