What’s behind the urgent requests for emergency expenditures for nonreturnable CPUs, memory, and licenses? Mostly it’s the little things that your team is overlooking.
|Ray Johnston relates this story in his Wall Street Journal bestselling book, The Hope Quotient:
“On November 9, 1965, at 5:16 p.m., events were set into motion that brought one of the richest, most industrialized, and highly populated areas of the Western world to a complete standstill. A backup relay switch at the Sir Adam Beck power station in Ontario, Canada, was accidentally set too low to handle increasing power transmissions, and it tripped. The power cascaded to the next line, which overloaded and transferred to the next, shutting them down one after another. In less than five minutes, the entire northeast power grid went offline."
“There was no power to provide heat or light to citizens or to allow them to communicate. There was no power to operate pumps, move sewage, or deliver water and gas. The power was cut off that was needed to run life-support systems at hospitals. During the evening rush hour, an estimated eight hundred thousand people were trapped in subways. Only half of one hundred fifty hospitals had emergency power available. At the JFK airport, two hundred fifty flights had to be diverted.”
“With no light, no heat, and no communications, thirty million people found themselves in a dark, silent, frightening new world. All because of a ripple effect set in motion by a small switch in a metal cup - a relay that was set too low.”
|Your company’s database is the central nervous system of your company, and your chief competitive advantage. So much so that when your database is sick, your organization is unhealthy, your customers are unhappy, and your reputation suffers. So what causes your database to get sick? What’s behind the urgent requests for emergency expenditures for nonreturnable CPUs, memory, and licenses? Mostly it’s the little things that your team is overlooking.|
Think of a database like a cookbook: if you want to find a recipe for blueberry pie, you can either scan every page until you find a recipe for blueberry pie, or you can check the index. Checking the index is much faster of course. Virtually every database in every company has searches that look small - so small that they don’t bother to index them - but what they fail to realize is that the small query is used across the business, regularly throughout the day, and each time it loads into memory and processes in an inefficient way, not only slowing down the searcher, but slowing down every request by every other person. And all of the sudden a small query has become a big problem.
So where do multimillion-dollar emergency bills come from? From small queries, and that’s why it’s important to sweat the small stuff.
You may not be the person in charge of databases, but chances are in your company there are small inefficiencies - things that seem so small that they don’t warrant your attention - but they are repeated throughout the day, by most everyone in organization, and they are absolutely costing you money and keeping you from where you want to take the organization.
What You Must Know
Little inefficiencies can cause massive problems. Pay attention.