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There are racks upon racks of servers in every room of the datacenter. Hundred foot Ethernet cables purchased by the 53’ truckload deliver ones and zeroes in carefully orchestrated paths. There is a purpose for every end-to-end connection proffered by these cables. Data transfer. Internet. Communication. They are the post-modern representation of human veins, sending information back and forth between a practically uncountable number of processing machines (OK the datacenter tech team probably knows, in all fairness). In Row 28, Rack 15, Bay 2, amongst the 24/7 bumblebee hum and other servers above, on either side, and below, rests your server. It’s connected to the Madness via one Ethernet cable, and you access it from your office in fractions of a second. It contains an association management system that powers your business. Being without the system is being without your business. You depend on the Madness for survival.

Far west across the American Expanse, over Appalachia and the Great Plains rising one tedious foot at a time until they meet the rushing rigid walls of the Rocky Mountains, over the 14,000 foot Colorado peaks and the Utah salt flats of landspeed record fame, Elko, the Sierra Nevada, and to within sight of to the largest body of water known to man, rests the only other server that you care about in this world: the server that powers your website. It sits in a similar datacenter and is connected to the Madness in the same fashion as your AMS server, via one lonely Ethernet cable. Except this one’s green. The eastern one is blue. This is one of those random facts that never leaves the brain and comes to mind when the old Hartford Whalers t-shirt is found in recesses of the closet and put on for the day, pissing off your wife because she failed to get rid of that wretched thing after the last time you wore it. “They haven’t been a team since 1996 for God’s sake and there are multiple holes in it!” Those exact shades of blue and green.

The website and AMS interface multiple times a minute, recording transactions, updating profiles, and taking actions that provide a seamless experience to your visitors. At least thirteen full moons ago (maybe more), contracted developers worked to build an interface between these two systems. They toiled to ensure that data exited and entered both systems accurately and effectively. There is vague recollection of numerous delays in getting the system operational and spontaneous meetings to connect the web developers with the AMS developers. At least one stern talking-to about deadlines with the project leads on both teams comes to mind. A late night run or two to clear the mind. It seemed as if development would never end. Each milestone birthed a new milestone just as significant as the previous one. The phrase “API tweak” will not soon to be forgotten.

But those past problems are cloudy in the mind now in the after-hours Wednesday night monthly report review. The developers put in the time and were able to achieve a working connection between the two systems. There was such a tense atmosphere about the days leading up to the activation of the integration, as one might suppose there is with any integration. There are so many operations to synchronize correctly. The integration hasn’t produced a single error since the first week of implementation, and it conducts every function that it’s supposed to do. In the end, the project accomplished what really matters with any integration: To provide a flawless conduit for data dissemination between two distinct systems to achieve a defined business process, whether the medium of connection is an Ethernet cable or some link in the Madness.

 

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