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Technology, like life, finds a way

While not all nightmare networks are as obvious, all can be a disaster in waiting
While not all nightmare networks are as obvious, all can be a disaster in waiting
Robert Kern Curtis's forums

While not all of us may recall the quote 'life finds a way' from the classic Jurassic Park series; many out there have experienced firsthand exactly how technology too sometimes manages to find a way even under conditions where it theoretically should not. Simple examples might be a PC continuing to function even though a SMART failure has been detected regarding a hard drive about to die, or better yet a failed or failing memory stick that will continue to work until locking up the machine when that failed block of memory is put to use.

While these hardware related examples may be easy to fathom as to how their failures might allow for continued functioning, sometimes the hardware isn't the failure being overstepped; probably one of the most remarkable things to observe in the field of IT are some of the mis-configured networks that can still manage to function even under conditions that many a certified technician would say should not be working. Often times when this is the case, changes or additional networking elements, can bring that ability to function to a complete halt.

When this happens it may seem to the clients involved that the technician adding the new hardware or configuration change is at fault for the failure taking place; afterall everything was working fine until they added that new printer! The reality is things were not actually working 'fine', and while it may seem the added device or change is at fault it was only a matter of time before the true fault would become known and throw that 'functioning' out the window.

The science and mathematics behind the technology today is very well equipped to try and maintain functionality even in an environment where that should not be the case. While clients may believe this to be satisfactory such as the example given above might indicate, once a new device or configuration is introduced if the other devices have been improperly configured simply removing that device will not always remedy the situation their introduction created; now that the misconfiguration has become evident to those algorhythms that previously were able to keep things moderately working.

The easiest way to avoid such problems is to not only configure the network properly from the start, but when facing a readily configured and 'working' environment; making as many notes, diagrams, and documentations as you can regarding the current setup will often limit potential hazards awaiting encounter. Granted once a misconfiguration is encountered by the technician that cannot be bypassed for performing the install or configuration change requested of them, rebuilding the network may be the best and only option, but learning to not only understand for yourself what may result in such but to find simple rational explanations for your clients can prove that much more beneficial in the efforts toward correcting them.

Recognizing that properly configured networks provide not only reliability, a greater ease of troubleshooting, and especially greater performance; and understanding how best to present this to the clients' will help a great deal in minimizing upset or misdirected anger regarding what could take place. If you as the technician can determine a failure before it will take place and especially if you can manage to explain it simply enough to the client, even if/when the efforts involved to correct as much could run a heftier billing than expected, the continued satisfaction thereafter will often times speak for itself. Understanding the overall objectives of the client involved can often assist with finding the best way to present the problem and what the solution to as much will entail, minimizing potential upset that solution could impose.

So while technology may indeed sometimes find a way, its the direction of living knowledgeable technicians that guarantee it will continue to. Where that new printer or network technician may have been 'red flags' indicating an incoming downtime for a department; a technician with a clear understanding and capability to explain as much to those without will find banners of welcoming instead.

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