Friday, December 22, 2023

The Firewall Guy

About 20 years ago, I worked as an independent consultant at a major telecom. I wrote a program that did some stuff, and couldn't get it to communicate on the network.

Developers there didn't get root on a machine, and there was limited access to tooling, so I reached out to the sysadmin. A day later he came back to me and said, "everything here's good, check with the firewall guy."

The firewall guy. It took me a day to track down the firewall guy.

"Umm... Mr. Firewall guy, can you help me out with this problem?"

Firewall guy was kinda grumpy. He begrudgingly collected some information, begrudgingly looked at stuff. "Firewall's fine. Talk to the network guy."

Two days later, I found the network guy, who was nicer: "Network's good. Talk to the firewall guy."

"I did a couple of days ago. Firewall guy says everything's fine."

"Okay, then you're probably resolving to the wrong addresses. Talk to the DNS guy."

It took me many days to find the DNS guy. DNS guy left six months ago. Firewall guy was now also DNS guy.

I did not like Firewall guy, but I didn't have a choice: "So Mr. Firewall guy, Network guy says it might be a DNS issue."

"You again. It definitely not a Firewall or DNS problem."

At this point I was kinda stuck. I was accountable for delivering something that works, but had no agency to actually deliver the thing.

As I was thinking about what to do next, Firewall guy called me on my desk phone: "try your thing again." I tried my thing again. "Thanks very much, that worked! What was wrong?"

"It's complicated. <hangs up>" I took a peek and saw the DNS entries didn't change. It was probably the firewall.

It took me about two days to build the thing, and eight days to navigate their bureaucracy. I billed them for ten days of my time, and apologized for taking so long.

The manager replied back right away: "Oh that was quick! No need to apologize. Our regular consulting firm estimated 2 people 3 months. Can you come by next week for your next project?"

No comments:

Post a Comment