Fear And Loathing On The Y2K Trail

We are now well past the half-way mark for Y2K. The first critical dates have alreadypassed. Now that the U.S. government and many state governments as well, have startedtheir fiscal Year 2000, shouldn't we be seeing trouble? I haven't seen any tax refundchecks yet for negative numbers. I also haven't seen or heard of any network forecastingreports with negative growth numbers -- yet.

In spite of this, I still sense a lot of fear among network professionals. Especiallywhen it comes to Y2K network management. For instance, I had a call just last week from adirector at a large telecommunication company here in the southeast. He heard a storyabout possible Y2K problems involving a Sybase database, CiscoWorks and Remedy ARS. Hewanted me to assure him that there were no known problems. "Let me get back to you onthat," I told him.


As you can imagine I wasn't happy about this call. Here's why: During the past 12months, we spent over three-man years worth of effort testing every combination of networkmanagement hardware and software they had for Y2K compliance. After testing we upgradedand re-architected their entire management infrastructure. This particular combination(the one being asked about) passed with flying colors.

After having the engineer re-investigate the combination, I found:

Unfortunately, (as well all know) it's not that cut and dry.

Remedy and Cisco claim compliance with version 11 and Sybase claims compliance withversion 11.5. We tested Ciscoworks and Remedy with Sybase version Of courseeverything passed.

So what do we do?

I explained the impasse to their management to let them decide knowing good and wellwhat they will decide. Being part of a public utility this company has an immense fear ofY2K problems. Some might say overly fearful. I haven't heard the outcome yet but I imaginewe will be upgrading Sybase again next month.


One last Y2K story. We finished another Y2K management system test for a majorentertainment company a few months ago. They had waited until the last minute but had somepretty detailed corporate testing requirements to follow. These requirements includedbuilding test machines and loading the exact hardware and software configurations fromtheir production machines. Their software included HP OpenView, Seagate NerveCenter andCisco Ciscoworks. Their test requirements, like others, also included a number of veryspecific dates to test.

The Y2K experts that built this document put every conceivable and rumored problem dateimagined. The problem was that some of these dates had already passed by the time westarted our testing. What would you do? Or should I say, what would your company do?

a. Skip the past dates because they're irrelevant?
b. Ignore the entire test and head for the hills?
c. Run the computer dates backwards and do the test?

As silly as it sounds, the tests must go on. As it turns out everything passed withflying colors.

-- Charles Hebert is President of Southernview Technologies, Inc. Hecan be reached at charles.hebert@southernview.com

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