How many Fortune 25 companies does it take to change a light bulb?

I’m working right now for a Fortune 25 company. This story is going to sound like bragging, so I’ll ask forgiveness in advance. Maybe if I mention I’m a contractor, then it’s not bragging quite so bad.

Well, said Fortune 25 company has a large number of servers lots of versions of Unix, including AIX, which is IBM’s version of Unix. Years ago, said company contracted with EDS, which was the company that made Ross Perot a billionaire, to maintain them. Supporting lots of stuff from lots of different vendors was EDS’ business.

Fast forward to 2008, and HP bought EDS to complement the consulting business it bought Compaq to get. So my client ended up paying HP to host and support a large number of IBM servers running IBM’s version of Unix, and a much smaller number of HP servers running HP/UX.

I needed a change made on the AIX servers this past Friday. It was a minor change, but it didn’t work. The sysadmin that HP assigned to the case couldn’t figure it out either, and ended up opening a support case with IBM.

I chuckled at the irony of seeing an IBM support ticket from HP in my inbox, though I’m sure this (and the opposite) happen all the time without us knowing. IBM quickly figured out what HP needed to do, and closed the ticket.

I briefed my management team on it Monday morning. “IBM helped HP, and now I’m seeing what I’m supposed to see.”

Then I paused.

“So it only took three Fortune 25 companies to figure this one out.”

So, this week, if I come up with something that takes four Fortune 25 companies to fix, is that better or worse?

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2 thoughts on “How many Fortune 25 companies does it take to change a light bulb?

  • August 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    When I was starting my sysadmin career, one of the books I had said there are three broad types of Unix. BSD style, System V style, and AIX. And that AIX stood for “Ain’t Unix”. So I don’t blame the HP guy for not knowing what needed to be done.

    • August 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Me neither. Service can get tricky because there’s really no way to avoid having to support your competitors’ stuff from time to time. I haven’t seen a shop that even tried to be homogenous since the 1990s, and even those shops eventually stopped fighting it because they found they couldn’t do it.

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