How often do we run into problems and have to contact a third party vendor to get the resolution only to spend a large amount of time getting someone (sometimes ourselves) to stop the blame game and start working together? This seems to happen all the time in the IT field and this is frustrating as all hell and we as IT professionals and engineers need to put our ego and pride aside and work on the problem to benefit our customer and I’ll share my thoughts on the various scenarios…

I have run into far too many scenarios where myself and another network vendors (almost always ISPs) have to come together to help a mutual client. Now, the ISP and myself have one major thing in common, the customer. The customer is the reason we are able to pay our bills and live the life we want to live and without a happy customer we’re not going to get repeat business or positive referrals to continue making money. This is scenario number one I’ll talk about.

Far too often I run into problems with Q-in-Q related transitions and it is really no single persons fault because there are so many variations of what you can do for each customer and you can’t template it. However, when doing this I notice that a good majority if ISPs are quick to start pointing blame before both the ISP and myself can hash out what we have done so far and share configs. Almost 100% of the time I get the other vendor starting the finger pointing and this isn’t helpful for the customer because they don’t care and just want their network back up. However, I was assisting someone once with a transition and right before we could explain what was done we get a “well, you know that vlan is XXXX” referencing the SP VLAN that was being used to wrap our frame. The ISP was immediately assuming that we we’re doing our own Q-in-Q wrapping without even as much looking at our profile or asking what the setup was. This created a delay in the troubleshooting and further made things more complicated because we had to clear that hurdle before real troubleshooting could start. This type of behavior should be eradicated and as IT professionals we should gather up the facts and look at the current state of things to help the customer, the person who pays our bills.

The second scenario relates to individuals we work with on a daily basis inside the company we work for. I worked for iContact while it was still a company by itself (before the buyout). I worked among a group of pro open source Linux individuals and while I don’t want to lay a blanket statement among all of us who use it, because I do, but the problem among a good bunch is arrogance. This led to a lot of internal struggles among a lot of other employees of the company and created a severe amount of tension. When things were breaking or things needed to be fixed there was very little coordination among employees because of the hostility and finger pointing that went on. For instance, when you have 30 Vms (extremely busy mail servers) inside a single host and you enable verbose logging on ALL of them you should expect to be I/O bound rather quickly. However, the blame game started and the finger was pointed at the network despite all the evidence showing that a mere 2% of the link was being used with no errors on the interfaces. It took someone, quietly telling the person blaming the network, that they noticed the SAN was thrashed and had very slow response times for other servers that were on there and they immediately noticed that wait times in the top output command were high and the I/O on the netapps were sky high.

This blame game scenario exists among vendors and inside organizations and some even call it “throwing you under the bus”. Instead of this childish and unproductive behavior I say we unite as IT professionals and look to solve the complex problems we face and set our ego aside to get the job done. In the end you’re not getting any special medal of honor and there will not be a parade outside with women (or men, I don’t discriminate) waiting to throw themselves at you for saving the day at your office or at your clients site. However, you can earn something more valuable from your customers, other vendors and your fellow peers…respect.


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