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No Holiday Respite For IT Pros

A survey of IT professionals shows that many will be on call this holiday season dealing with users' remote network access problems and other IT glitches.

Over the next several days, while many people are slurping down eggnog, exchanging gifts with loved ones, and festively greeting 2014, the ones who keep workplace technology humming along will be on edge.

Similar to police, firefighters and nurses, the IT administrators of the world are always on call. They accept that their good times can be shattered at any moment by a call to action.

A holiday survey of more than 140 IT professionals conducted by network monitoring software vendor Ipswitch found that 46 percent will be on call this holiday season. Most of that time will be spent helping users who are having problems accessing their network remotely (51%), are grappling with poor app performance (26%), or have forgotten their passwords (17%).

Nearly one in three survey participants reported experiencing a major network outage during previous holiday seasons.

“Even the holidays can’t provide a brief respite for many hardworking IT pros,” Ennio Carboni, president and general manager of Ipswitch's network management division, said in a statement. “They may be giving up downtime with friends and family to make sure your networks have uptime.”

Read the rest of this article on Network Computing.

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jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
1/2/2014 | 4:05:45 PM
Re: Winter Change Freeze
@SaneIT: "Does the freeze mean that there are zero changes?  I can't imagine being able to do a full freeze since the holiday seasons are when tasks that would normally cripple the regular staff are performed."

 

I think the answer to that - as you undoubtedly know already - varies a lot depending on the industry and on the company itself.

I've worked for companies where freeze means exactly that - a period of time where NO changes are allowed. Of course, there's always an exception process, but they make the barrier to that process very high indeed - you'd better be able to show a large dollar amount being lost by not making the change, and a reason other than "we didn't get around to it." And then I've worked places where change freezes simply mean you don't do the "riskier" changes, but all the normal pre-aproved maintenance changes (port turn-ups, that kind of thing) can go ahead regardless. (I've also worked at places where change control of any sort would be a new and educational experience!).

Some companies have change freezes around Christmas, say, because the staffing is think with so much vacation is being taken. Others might do the same because the network is under its greatest strain at that time and an outage would have a signficiant negative impact, thus they protect the network's stability by avoiding making changes during peak periods. And let's face it, that's why many companies have limited change window hours during the rest of the year - to avoid peak periods and minimize impact of any problems that arise.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
1/2/2014 | 4:05:25 PM
Re: Winter Change Freeze
@SaneIT: "Does the freeze mean that there are zero changes?  I can't imagine being able to do a full freeze since the holiday seasons are when tasks that would normally cripple the regular staff are performed."

 

I think the answer to that - as you undoubtedly know already - varies a lot depending on the industry and on the company itself.

I've worked for companies where freeze means exactly that - a period of time where NO changes are allowed. Of course, there's always an exception process, but they make the barrier to that process very high indeed - you'd better be able to show a large dollar amount being lost by not making the change, and a reason other than "we didn't get around to it." And then I've worked places where change freezes simply mean you don't do the "riskier" changes, but all the normal pre-aproved maintenance changes (port turn-ups, that kind of thing) can go ahead regardless. (I've also worked at places where change control of any sort would be a new and educational experience!).

Some companies have change freezes around Christmas, say, because the staffing is think with so much vacation is being taken. Others might do the same because the network is under its greatest strain at that time and an outage would have a signficiant negative impact, thus they protect the network's stability by avoiding making changes during peak periods. And let's face it, that's why many companies have limited change window hours during the rest of the year - to avoid peak periods and minimize impact of any problems that arise.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/2/2014 | 7:29:58 AM
Re: Winter Change Freeze
I know the freeze doesn't solve much other than avoiding over taxing a thin staff during the holiday season but how effective is that freeze in general.  Does the freeze mean that there are zero changes?  I can't imagine being able to do a full freeze since the holiday seasons are when tasks that would normally cripple the regular staff are performed.  Things like office renovation that means port changes from the network side or recabling projects.  These things are better done during the slow times so I can't imagine a full freeze.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/31/2013 | 11:37:54 AM
Re: Imagine the Target IT Team
@Alison yes you are correct. What about the team's such as database admins and system admins who has to work on both day and night in order to cover the rest.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/31/2013 | 11:36:05 AM
Re: Holiday chores
@ Brian you are very correct, it reminds my school time too where the holiday session was just filled with classes and studies.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/31/2013 | 11:33:26 AM
Re: Holiday chores
This is an interesting article on IT staff. As you correctly said even at this moment there are some of the IT guys who are spending their time on year end clearing activities.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
12/30/2013 | 12:26:07 PM
Winter Change Freeze
My personal love is the idea (from outside the engineering teams) that a network Change Freeze means that we are sitting around twiddling our thumbs. Aside from the fact that change freezes don't mean there are no failures, my experience suggests that in early December every project under the sun suddenly realizes that they have 101 things that must be completed before year end, and as such the work load between the Thanksgiving Change Freeze and the Christmas Change Freeze goes through the roof. Typical teams I've been on find themselves working twice as hard to get everything done in time and that alone can lead to mistakes that are often discovered during the freeze period.

 

The freeze itself is actually the time when most teams catch up on all the day to day activities they had to put off while killing themselves completing all that project work before the freeze ;-)
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/30/2013 | 7:37:11 AM
Re: Holiday chores
It does make the holiday season easier to return from if you never really shut down.  I know a lot of people who seem to have a hard time getting back to work after the holidays but I've never had that issue.  While things do slow down they never really stop so I think we have an easier time getting back to normal work loads while many other people are still on vacation in their minds.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2013 | 3:12:13 PM
Re: Holiday chores
Police, firefighter, nurses, IT pros and let's not forget students. Looking back on the last five years I do not remember a single holiday season where they was not a project, assignment or exam that wasn't clashing with the holiday season, having said that, it's fun to be productive. 
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/26/2013 | 2:21:59 PM
Re: Holiday chores
To SaneIT and his peers: More power to you. And thanks.
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