Thursday, April 20, 2006

Contractors

We have a contractor working remotely helping us with performance problems with one of our off the shelf applications, nice enough fellow, very knowledgeable about the application as well as the business logic on why the application does what it does. This was to a particular module in the application, not application wide. The database isn't the performance issue, it is of course the first thing blamed. But luckily management has been proven the fact that the database isn't the issue, instead it was bad design from the vendor in the application and database - hence the good, but brutily expense contractor. I had a bit of a run in with him today, he must have had a bad day and I somehow earned the right to have him rip a strip off of me. A few weeks ago I had started monitoring on all of the indexes in the production database (built in 9i monitoring) and had earlier in the week passed him a spreadsheet of the data. This was being done because the module in production was just not performing well. Well, he was very upset at the results as it appeared about $8K worth of his consulting time of creating and modifying indexes had shown very little result in the production database - even though the results had been stellar in the test database. He started in on how some configuration differences had to exist between the two databases and I had better find the differences and fix them immediately. Not his exact words, but I wouldn't communicate language like that to others sensitive ears. After a few minutes of this, I calmly hung up on him in mid sentence and went about my business trying hard to not resist the urge to pop into the gas guzzler and pay him a visit (only about 2 hours away) and have a nice face to face conversation with him. A period of time passed, and one of our application support people came by asking what I had done to upset the contractor who was now currently on the phone with a 3 managers painting a unlikable picture of me. I explained the contractors issues to the support person, who looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and asked me to follow him. At his cube dwelling he popped open a change request, from about 2 months ago from the contractor asking the in the production database, an application wide parameter be modified to not append a site code defination to all of the SQL being passed to the database. There was a fair bit of communication on the subject on the change, but in the end it was approved and implemented. I am sure you can guess where this is going. He had in his original effort used the site code to reduce the selectivity on the driving tables in his index creating. We bypassed the change protocols and put the parameter back into place the way it had been. The support person started to use the module to generate reports and generally move about the application to start to execute queries. I trundled on back to my cube and monitored what the kindly support person was doing. Low and behold - the indexes where being used and the SQL was executing effeciently and quickly. The application person took a print out of the change and went to visit with the managers on my behalf. I felt that would be better to do instead of it looking like I was trying to cover my own behind. Much better when others have the capability of doing it for you. A short time passed - under 10 minutes and I receive a call from the contractor. Very apologetic for his own stupidity and promises of un-expensed lunchs for me when he is at the office next week. sigh.

3 comments:

Peter K said...

Hahahe...well, at least he was right that there was a difference between test and production.

Hoped that the lunch(es) were worth it ;)

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