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Three and a Half Years Administering Epic
Three and a Half Years Administering Epic

Stuck in Fresno away from the lucrative and challenging IT positions I have been accustomed to, I wanted to return to the Bay Area or another more metropolitan area.  But my parents were aging and needed my help.  My brother had passed away and my sister was in the Los Angeles area, and my daughter was studying Cognitive Science at UCSC.  So Eileen and I felt bound to stay in Fresno.

Then a recruiter called.  Recruiters typically call.  However, this recruiter asked if it would be a problem for me to live and work in Fresno.  It was not only Ok, but it was ideal.

Epic Data Courier
Epic Data Courier

What is Data Courier?  If you worked with Epic or some other enterprise level software, most likely somebody configured it.

  • There will be connectivity to set up with one or more database engines.
  • There will likely be application servers, web servers, print servers, special purpose servers.
  • There will be networking and load balancers
  • and a ton of configurations,
  • and of course, issues related to them all–version compatibility, security, networking.

And once you have an idea what this gargantuan King Kong configuration will look like, you’ll want to have it replicated.

  • You’ll need a disaster recovery copy of the database that you can move to if, or when, the main database breaks.
  • You’ll need a reporting mirror or shadow copy of the main database.
  • You will likely need extract data from that shadow via some ETL software which will require its own software, it’s own configuration, and it’s own database engine.

So, now that you have a perfect production environment with every possible necessity met, there is still something missing.  Are you going to do all configuration modifications Willy-Nilly in Production all the time?  Are you OK with someone making a mistake and blowing away something business critical for all your thousands of users?

You will most likely need a Proof of Concept environment to try out your changes.  You will most likely need a Test environment so you can “deploy” your changes or install your changes to Test, and if all works well, you can put them into Production.

You will most likely need several environments where you can try things out safely, and you will most likely need training environments that have no critical production information in them–environments that are as much like Production as possible without invading the privacy of real people with real Production records.

With all of this, you will need some method for migrating your changes from POC to Test to Production and to Training environments.

Data Courier is that.

A website called Health IT Social has a nice layout of typical Epic environments.  In this case, they address a special case you will likely run into if you have upgraded your POC environment, for instance and need to migrate data to your TST and PRD environment which have not yet been updated.  We went through this experience a number of times, and for awhile even had separate TST environments for ICD 9 and ICD 10.

Virtualization, Vagrant, and Docker for Development
Virtualization, Vagrant, and Docker for Development

How would you like to take virtualization to a new level?  To create virtual machines, each perfect for whatever software you are trying to develop?  What if you messed up big time and wished you could just get your computer back to the way it was before you did anything and start over?  What if you could do that in a few seconds or minutes at most?

Vagrant can help you do that.  That is, if you want to create whole virtual machines.

But what if you wanted to create several light-weight servers that shared an operating system image?

My Visions, Dreams, Passion
My Visions, Dreams, Passion

Long ago in a far away place…Ok…

Sixteen or seventeen years ago, a lady came to my workplace and gave a seminar called “Making Your Dreams Come True”.  I walked into the room, got my name tag and my three ring binder and sat down.

What did I get myself into?  “Making Your Dreams Come True”.  When do the Cinderella and Rapunzel dolls come out?  Can I sneak out and go back to work?  I’ve read books and gone to seminars on positive thinking, possibility thinking and all that.

Well, for some magical reason Forrest Gump comes to life and the dim wits who really believe in this Cinderella stuff are the ones who succeed.  It’s the “smart”, enlightened ones who fail.

So, why is this happening?  Are some people just lucky?  Or are some people just too stupid to know when something won’t work ?

The Bible says in Proverbs 29 v 18, “Where there is no vision thepeople perish

Email Using Exim – Bye, Bye Spammers

I just  spent a week in email purgatory.

Sendmail was a great email server.  It served millions of people for decades.  But, email technology has matured.  Or perhaps it has merely been simplified.  Or perhaps complexity for the sake of generality has been exchanged for a simple foundation with complex appendages to address security, performance, and scalability.

Unix: Forward to the History
Unix: Forward to the History

Ever watch “Back to the Future”?  Ever live “Forward to the History?”

Sick of being imprisoned in a C-panel reseller’s account I longed to return to my long familiar Linux / Unix command prompt.  I got a VPS from Ubiquity.  It was the right thing to do.  I know I was falling off the wagon and who knows where indulging an old addiction might lead?  But, my daughter was proud of me.  In fact, she was the one who recommended it.  My addiction was Linux.  Solaris.  AIX.  HP-UX.  It ran through my blood like heroin through the veins and brain cells of a drug addict.

Services Dying? Keep Them Alive With a Perl Script
Services Dying?  Keep Them Alive With a Perl Script

Have you ever felt frustrated with your Unix services that keep shutting down in production unexpectedly without notifying you?  Would you like to have a script that might help restart those processes and notify you of the problem?

This little helpful Perl script might help.  Or it might help you see what happens when a long time Unix system admin learns enough about perl programming to be dangerous.  Even so, this script works well for me.

My Unix Journey
My Unix Journey

People Collaborating When Linus Torvalds came out with Linux in 1991, I had nearly a decade of Unix administration and C development experience.  And my first brush with Unix came out of my own curiosity while I was a COBOL and PC programmer/analyst for Fresno Unified School District in the early 1980’s.

Website Development

WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, TikiWiki, how do I love thee?

 

JOY Blocks

JOY Christmas decorations a Fresno's Christmas Tree Lane

Let me count the ways.

I never want to criticize or fail to appreciate the contribution many dedicated developers have made to provide for free some of the most excellent CMS and Blogging packages available.

These systems have developed in phases and among different sets of developers with newer technologies building upon older ones.

My Oracle Experience

 

Pre-Oracle Experience

Prior to working at Oracle, I worked 4 years for Ingres where I was trained in SQL development, Administration, and Performance.  During my stay, I performed countless installations into approximately 80 systems based on about 40 variants of Unix and VMS.  I provided maintenance and troubleshooting on installations damaged while reproducing bugs reported to the support department.  I also served as final sign off and approval for Release Management and trained support staff in installation and QA of installation packages