Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Amazed but Pleased

Regardless of the outcome, it was still a "less than wise" decision.  Still, I'm pleased it went smoothly.  Even Geoff Hanna was "pleasantly surprised".

When LotRO was getting ready to move to the new data center, there was weeks of notice and testing.  In fact, there was at least (3) rounds of testing on their 'beta' server, "Bullroarer".  They had many announcements, asking - practically begging - as many players as possible to sign-in during the testing to help them "stress" the new hardware/software.  In fact, they dangled incentives of TP and even a chance at a lifetime subscription if you signed-in during the testing.

Now, I expected that DDO would also go through some testing prior to their move.  But whenever the question of "when" the move would occur, the answer was "We'll let you know as we get closer to the move date."  But if there was any testing, it must have all been done "behind-the-scenes" because I was watching and I did not see even once "come help us test" announcement.

And then the announcement of "We're going to make the data center move on March 8, right in 'the middle' of our 10th Anniversary event."  I could not help but think they were nuts for scheduling it during the Anniversary event.  And who could blame me?  Data moves rarely go as planned.  And yet, it seems DDO's data move was relatively hitch-free.

Huh.  How 'bout that?

Now, granted, LotRO did a lot of testing for their move.  And though LotRO is not (quite) as old as DDO is, it does use a similar, if not "the same", game engine (as far as I know).  So I can only assume all of the major pitfalls that LotRO uncovered were accounted for with DDO's move.  Still, I am very surprised it went as well as it did.

But just because it went well, doesn't make the decision to move during the Anniversary event a wise one - it really wan't.  But then, I am very fond of quoting an old adage which is applicable in situations like this:

"It's better to be 'lucky' than 'good'."*


* Of course, it's best to be 'lucky' AND 'good'.**

** OK, I'm really not trying to take away anything from the DDO tech team, because they did a phenomenal job.  I'm sure there was lots and lots of planning, and I suspect plenty of testing, just nothing involving the DDO players (as far as I know).  I do know that part of LotRO's data center moved also involved upgrading from a 32-bit OS to a 64-bit OS.  And anyone who remembers the migration from a 16-bit to 32-bit OS during the first few days it was possible should know there were a lot of problems.  Which is why I absolutely refuse to upgrade just as soon as a new OS is out, because my system is running fine, thank-you very much, and I don't need to suddenly "stop working" for a few days while things get worked out.  But then those who upgraded after (most) of the bugs had been worked out, did so, for the most part, relatively painlessly.  Such as I.

I gotta believe DDO made a similar OS change-over.  So maybe, just maybe, most of the problems that LotRO went through immediately after the data move was related and it helped DDO make a smoother transition.  Still, there's always the possibility of unknown things to crop up.

In any event, good job, DDO tech guys/gals.  Well done.

But I also can't help but wonder how many would agree, if you asked them, that they were indeed at least just a little bit lucky.

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