Saturday night and Sunday

My job requires that I occasionally work on evenings and weekends, doing things that cannot be done in normal business hours. Fortunately, in most cases I can do the job remotely by logging on to the County network from home. That helps a lot. Also, in most cases the job is goes according to plan and does not take too long. Last night…well, I am glad the first was true.

A log record of old data was growing out of control, The analyst on the application had a very clear plan of how to clean it up. This puts him well ahead of many of the people I work with, so I really cannot be mad at him about the results. The plan had a very simple and clear command to clear up the the log. Unfortunately, the log was huge and the command choked. I started work at 8 PM. At 2 AM the command was still running, but I wasn’t. I went to bed. When I checked in the morning it had failed. Nothing had been moved.

This is not an unmitigated disaster. The database management system did what it was supposed to do. The transaction (DBMS language) either works completely or fails completely. There is no intermediate, and potentially inconsistent, result. The system is still completely usable and ready for business as usual.

However, it is definitely a mitigated disaster. We still have to clean up the log, which is growing every day. In the course of the long night the analyst and I both had some ideas about how to it better next time. I thought about trying my ideas (breaking up the transaction into much smaller and more manageable pieces) today. However, this is a tightly managed project and trying them without approval would get me in trouble. Just as well, I was tired and my ideas might be all wrong. So we will try again another day. So I took a much needed afternoon nap instead.

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