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When Tools Just Work

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 13 years and 93 days ago. Viewed 2,512 times. #1
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When Tools Just Work

(Originally posted 12 January 2007)

This is just a little story illustrating what happens when you use the best tools for the job, not merely the best tools you have available.

So my Dell laptop finally packed it in (mainboard failure -- at least, that what the Dell Dude who is coming tomorrow to fix it is bringing a replacement of; all hail Next Business Day On-Site Support!) and in the resulting messing around with the phone I didn't get a tape rotation done that I needed to.

So I'm sitting at home and I need to get as much of this done as I can remotely, because tomorrow morning I'm taking the Mazda in for service and won't have the time to tediously step around getting this done before Tape Dude shows up wanting the rotating-out tapes.

The customer site runs Net Vault on Solaris. So I sit down at my Sun Ray, and I ssh into the customer site, do the required jumping from machine to machine to get to where I need to go, and launch the Net Vault gui. Since SSH "just works", the X display from all that jumping around is forwarded straight back to my Sun Ray display. I use the gui to figure out that yes the backups ran correctly, and I list the device inventory so I know what tapes are going to be coming out tomorrow morning when I run in there.

Now I bring up the rdesktop on my Sun Ray and connect to the Windows XP instance running in a VMware session on my Sun Ray Server. Once there, I browse to the Samba server on the same machine, and look in the directory with the latest backup dump from my laptop so I can find the backup rotation form template I need for tomorrow. I copy the template to a working directory, launch Microsoft Excel on the copy (since the template is an Excel file), and generate the form for tomorrow. I quit Excel and then use Outlook to email the form to myself so I have a copy to put back on my laptop in the correct place once the Dell Dude is finished.

But my employer has a Juniper SSL VPN box, so I'm not done yet. I run Internet Explorer and connect to the SSL appliance, and run their Network Connect tool. Now my XP session is VPN'd into my employer's network, and I can add the printer in my office to the XP session I'm in. I fire up Excel again, and print two copies of this form to the printer.

So tomorrow when the Mazda guy drops me off, I can go into my office, pick up my two forms, go across the street to the customer site, fill the box with the tapes I have already identified, and have the box ready for pickup in two minutes rather than ten.

And all this worked because the tools involved Just Worked. From the Sun Ray, X, and SSH, through VMware, Windows XP, samba, Outlook, Excel, and the Juniper SSL appliance, using the best tool for the job got this done and will make tomorrow morning that much easier for me.

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