Tuesday, October 30, 2007

OK, Geeks: Does This Make Any Sense?

I asked today for a specific explanation for the computer mess at seven MGM Mirage properties last week. Yvette Monet, one of the spokeswomen, wrote me this response:

Our guest reservation system is now fully operational with no outages. We determined the source of the dormant “bug” to be within the Microsoft Windows 2003 operating system and a patch has been applied. The cause, or the “trigger” of the bug is still being investigated.

I'm not enough of a geek to know if it makes any logical sense or not. Anyone?

9 comments:

Hunter said...

Sure, this is a totally realistic explanation.

Still, the question remains - what broke down in their change management process that allowed this to occur in a production system.

Anonymous said...

It is totally possible but it could also be scapegoating. It is very common to blame problems on Microsoft that way no one gets in trouble.

Josh said...

They're lucky they found it so quickly! At my last job, a major Internet company, we spent months hunting down what we called the "monster bug", a data corruption error that was easily detectable (fortunately) but happened essentially at random. We finally found the problem in a Microsoft server library, a piece of which had apparently never been used under heavy load in a multiprocessor system, and which indeed had been written years before. (Geek talk: interrupts weren't disabled at one place where they shoulda been.) So, yeah, it's all perfectly reasonable and believable. This doesn't mean it's true, but it's quite feasible.

Hunter said...

Yeah, everything said here is totally possible...

It could easily be MGM scapegoating MS, no doubt.

Still, if it is true that OPERA systems are typically 300 room hotels and not a chain of 3,000+ room hotels, it's *possible* that they uncovered something related to load such as what Josh was talking about.

We'll probably never know for sure... But I did notice that MGM Mirage's CIO is a new guy - I don't know how long he's been on the job but it's not the guy, Glenn Bonner, that it was for years.

Hunter said...

Insert rant on how Open Source software is good in these respects because you can find and fix the problems yourself, due to source code access - here.

dan kane said...

See, and I'm like Steve - I don't understand the technical stuff here. But if you all say it's a reasonable answer, I'll buy it.

Anonymous said...

So this is Opera's first install on Windows 2003???? Don't they have tested hardware specs?

Anonymous said...

Very common in the IT world if you ask me. I bet someone at MGM didn't apply the patches that are outlined in the application's documentation. Like so many technicians, they don't read before they implement. Then again, they could have encountered a new bug from Windows 2003 that brought them to their knees. I'm surprised, however, knowing how Microsoft's development group would have been on top of this and working around the clock to get it fixed, that it would take 6 days to have corrected. So my thought is someone didn't install the recommended patches for the application originally.

Anonymous said...

Patches fix problems that aren't always known ahead of time. That's the idea of patches. I heard it was a new Windows bug that crashed the Oracle RAC. Even Microsoft couldn't find it.