Keep it simple, stupid! (Or “Keep It Simple, Silly” if you work in a G-rated workplace, the “G” of course standing for “Please don’t say anthing that would make a vexacious litigant drool”). That mantra is often heard being cried in operations meetings by a senior administrator/developer. His posture during that cry will usually resembles Conan the Barbarian as he wields his ergonomic keyboard like a broadsword.
Complexity is usually the byproduct of words like “integrate”, “management”, “ROI” and executives that start sentences with “My grandson told me…”. Nothing is inherently wrong with any of those things (especially if the executive finishes the last sentence with “…that I should listen to the IT department more”), but so often the projects are misguided and end up being glued together with PERL scripts and knowing just where to punch the z900 every tuesday when the accounting department runs a particularly twisted report.
Complexity is also the byproduct of reduced budgets that don’t allow for the proper tools to be purchased or the right consultants to be hired to implement them. You want us to coordinate all of the retail stores in the corporation to batch their SAP transactions in real time to the central accounting mainframe? Using Rexx scripts on OS/2 Warp endpoints? Sure, Mr Execu-tator! Right after we invent a holodeck so we can beat a holographic incarnation of you with bataka bats.
Complexity == innefeciency. Admins don’t like ineffeciency. Ineffeciency ultimately turns more energy into heat than is necessary, thus speeding up the supposed heat death of the universe. But before then, it increases the liklihood of getting paged at 3AM…right when we’re thinkign about resting up after hours of sewing our sailor moon costumes. Oh wait, was that a TMI foul? I think it was. -5 hit points.
It’s not that we’re afraid of complexity in and of itself. Sometimes complexity is necessary. Sometimes, complexity is even fun! However, SysAdmins like a few simple pleasures in this life. Namely REM sleep, a reasonable amount of hair on their pate and a lack of voices in their heads (unless they sound like HAL 9000; that would be cool). Too much complexity can disturb those simple pleasures.
So please, Mr. Execu-brain, the next time you think you can save money by demanding that we repurpose the storage room full of Amiga 500s into combintion educational kiosk / distributed accounting query processing stations — just wait for us to invent our holodeck first.