Fun at work today - NOT.
I had to go back to work last night to restart a couple of servers in "off hours" so that we could use the "Shutdown and Install Updates" option on some Windows servers to apply some of the latest Windows Updates to those systems. I really wish Microsoft would get with the program and find some way to apply the vast majority of updates/patches without the need to reboot, but that is a rant for another time or one that may have been gone over repeatedly in the past. Yeah, yeah, I know there are technical issues for why they do what they do, but it doesn't mean I like it.
Anyway, to get back on track, well, let me sidetrack for one more rant for a sec -- Hey!! Microsoft!!! Why in the world is there no "Install updates and restart the system" option? Whew! Got that rant done, we now return you to the regularly running topic/rant. So, I was saying I had to restart the boxes and apply updates. Yup, that was the case. In off-hours. No problem. I'm OCD enough that I check, check and recheck that things are ok after doing such things, and yet I'm also flexible enough on my schedule that going back to work in the evening didn't bother me really. So, I shutdown, apply updates, and restart. And wait through all of that, and until the systems were back online. After brining them back online I had the fun of logging in and restarting the license services for some key products and that's where the original point of my current rant really comes into play.
Software, which shall remain nameless, of a very specialized type that uses a license server scheme that involves multiple systems so there is supposed redundancy in the licensing of the product (if one server goes down it's not a problem provided a quorum still exists) is the most ill-behaved adaptation of the licensing service that I've ever had to even think of dealing with. The same licensing service works incredibly well for another product that we use (of a different purpose), but the manufacturer of that software is far more lenient and generous when it comes to their product. Rather than assuming that people are stealing their product they cooperate with customers to the largest extent possible and they allow customers and/or their technical points of contact (like me) to configure the licensing services in the ways that work best for them.
Like Starsoft, they don't make it easy to steal their product. Instead they just make it easy to work with them to use the product that you've paid for. Whatever flexible scheme you need, you can use it. There's not even a hint that the company thinks you might steal that product and give copies to someone else, even though that software is useful -- in my mind, and that of many co-workers -- in many more situations than the other more specialized software is.
So, one vendor/manufacturer that uses the exact same licensing service backend is incredibly flexible while another stops just short of calling all of their users THIEVES such that they make the use of that same backend software a total p-i-t-a. Ugh.
Anyway, I had restarted the servers, checked the licensing services after restarting them, confirmed not just once, but 3 times that things were working as intended, then went home after cleaning up e-mails and checking on a few more things. Except, well, this a.m. I get a phone call telling me things aren't work right and it's an issue and they need the licenses working right away please.
Sadly some of the people that would otherwise have been able to resolve the issue weren't around, but even if they were, well, it wasn't that simple. Another of the senior techs was on his way to the office when I got called and as expected he got there about 30 - 40 minutes before I could possibly have gotten there. He brought things back online, confirmed that the license services were working only to get pulled back into the area within about 5 minutes because they were down again Ooops!
It turns out that the implementation that the p-i-t-a vendor/manufacturer uses depends upon hardware addresses (MAC addresses) on the servers and we had somehow mixed up IP addresses and ports such that a disconnected network adapter was associated with the licenses on at least one server. I had disabled that secondary NIC when I saw the message about the cable being disconnected. Well, yeah, it's not connected and not needed so why have it try to start up? Except that the darned license service was seeing its existence and using it to enable the licenses. Uh, yeah, it was a blown configuration on the part of my team, but still a dumb implementation and one that wouldn't have been a problem at all if the software licenses were keyed to hostnames or IP addresses rather than to hardware addresses.
All I can say is that I'd like the people responsible at software manufacturer/vendor to choke on the donuts or other items they eat for breakfast.
I've read them the riot act before over their choosen implementation and it did no good but to raise my blood pressure. They insist that they must protect their intellectual property even if it completely disrupts things for customers. They insist on having blood oaths (signed contracts faxed to them) before they make any changes at all, and still only on their terms. They basically tell you up front they consider you a thief of their products no matter how much money they collect from you in maintenance and licensing costs.
Someday, please, soon, but just be someday, please! I hope they get kicked to the curb in favor of open-source software or other products that cost less and deliver a much better customer oriented experience. When that happens I hope this vendor watches their market dry up completely as I will laugh long and hard at that point.