The DW satellite is down

Last Friday MK-check sent alarms about the Data Warehouse satellite in Japan,  
indicating the server was down or not contactable. The most likely cause was problems with the communications after all the server is on the other side of the globe. We decided to wait over the weekend and see if the communication is reestablished. And sure enough late that evening we got a reassuring mail telling all was well.
Since it was weekend and the replication process is self healing we didn’t have to do anything, if anything was wrong in the database it would be corrected the day after by the next replication cycle. That’s the way I like to build processes, no manual monitoring or intervention needed, computers should be able to fix operational problems themselves.

This satellite ‘server’ is a tiny  Dell Optiplex 790 with an Intel I3 processor 4GB RAM and  two 1TB SATA disks, costed less than 800€.
We installed the satellite server as temporary cache 2012 to overcome the slow communication line between the HQ and the Osaka plant. I figured if it lasts a year it would  be good enough, (the network guys were just about to crank up the bandwidth). Now into the 4th year of continuous operation the computer is alive and kicking well, serving the factory guys with local response times for the cost of the electricity to run the computer. I have not seen similar features in any other Business Intelligence system. No matter how fast your high cost super duper central BI system is, you will not beat this tiny satellite at the remote branch office, noway.

Sometimes when I brag about the Data Warehouse, people tell me ‘Don’t be ridiculous you can’t be better than IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and the others’. It is very hard to prove I’m better than the competition, luckily for me, I do not need to do that, the Data Warehouse is there kicking ass with the competition. Normally I do not make a lot of fuss about myself, but sometimes it’s hard to be humble, I’m better than the big guys. That doesn’t mean I disrespect the others, far from it I have a lot of respect for what they have done, but someone has to be best, it’s simple as that. It’s not always about being smarter and having more resources, sometimes it is about having the simpler concept and execute it well.     


Simples vacances

This years vacation project Restful web and Sqlite. For some reason I never done any serious web development. Last week i decided to learn what restful is all about. I started with RestServer and it actually turned out to be very simple to use. I also had to learn how to use Composer, that to turned out to be very simple to use once you know you have to include the Composer bootstrap vendor/autoload.php, it took me some hours to figure that out. Just for the hell of it I added Sqlite for data storage, I never used it before, very simple to use, a lean mean SQL machine. Now I’m armed with with new tools waiting to be used. Simple tools to use but powerful. I have some ideas how I can use my new skills.  
For once what I thought should be a simple project actually was simple, Normally I’m confused in the beginning, I am not a good reader of documentations I just crack on with things,often that’s not a good strategy but for once it was. 

The Sqlite manual in my lap was simple to read, that’s why I look so happy :)  
Somewhere in France 2015, Montpellier? No it was Gignac.


The Cake is shut down

The Cake (2007 - 2015-07-03)

The Cake a.k.a. Kakan (deliberate mistranslation) a cost and revenue analysis Data Warehouse application  fell quietly asleep today.

The Cake was a brilliant piece of software put together in record time by me and my former colleague Ulf Davidsson, he did most of the work and then a Qlikview app on top. With the Cake marketing could in detail compare the revenue of sales with cost of production. The key factor to the success of the Cake was the understanding of Sales, nevertheless the original users have since long ascended up the career ladder and their replacement didn’t use the Cake. The last year of its life, the cake was not much used, the dead was anticipated and natural.
The Cake is replaced by SalMon a Sales analysis application used throughout the enterprise.
At next after work with the DW, we should have a funeral feast for the Cake.

Vacation again

Finally Summer is here, yesterday we had +25C in Stockholm, today it will be somewhat hotter and that is hot here, temperatures over 30C is still very rare despite global warming. So far this spring and summer has been unusually cold. Today is the first day of my vacation and next week I’m going down to France, this time without a computer! It is probably the first time since 1991 I do not carry a computer on my vacation, I think it was that year I bought an IBM P70 a  suitcase like portable with a huge 120MB hard disk, it costed my employer at the time a fortune. This year I only carry my Samsung Galaxy S4.


Stolen PC

My PC was stolen yesterday evening. This is not fun. I hope the perpetrator will rot in hell.
I had a presentation for tomorrow with many slides and a Data Warehouse reference architecture two third done which I had not backed up. I probably had a lot of other documents there not backed up. Fortunately I didn't have any sensitive info on the PC, at least I hope so.
These days you should save all your stuff in the cloud, not on the PC. Either in the cloud or on other servers.


Midsummer eve

Today it’s midsummer eve, it’s almost a sacred holiday in Sweden. We who live in Stockholm go out into the archipelago in the Baltic outside the town. Stockholm is almost empty, and the sun is up the entire days night.This year is different, the weather is unusually bad, rain rain dark clouds making it looks more like a day in the fall. For the first time in many years I’m alone in the city. I’m happy not being out in the islands this year.

Last year I rebuild the Linux system in the ETL server of the Data Warehouse on midsummer eve morning in an attempt to connect ODBC to Iseries DB2 systems. In the middle of this my siblings called me and told me they were waiting on me going out to the countryside. I stopped my rebuilding sure my tinkering could not possibly intervene with the normal operations of the ETL server. Of course it did, it killed all ETL jobs for the entire holiday. The guys responsible for the Data Warehouse had to work two days repair the damages, and they made me promise never to do ANYTHING  next midsummer eve or ever any midsummer eve after.


The Funnel

The Funnel a.k.a. Tratten (1976 - 2015-06-02)

The funnel a landing zone for program to program communication was conceived around 1976. This brilliant piece of software has served the company well for almost 40 years. It started it’s life as simple PDS store with a few simple API’s (store and get) later revamped into a full-fledged integration platform with a DB2 data store running. We were some that contributed to the funnel over the years, but there are three who deserves to be mentioned by name:
Ulf Nordin
Per-Erik Dahlberg

If some survivors can be assembled, we should have a funeral feast for the old workhorse.

Year 2000 a project started to replace the Funnel, and the plug was pulled 2015-06-02, unfortunately not without some hassle. Some purchase order flows were still going via the funnel. Those are now ported to the new integration platform.