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Turning it Off and On Again

Yesterday we fixed a problem with one of our optimisers by, as you can probably tell from the title, turning (a bit of) it off and on again.

In this case it wasn't as simple as flicking the switch on the wall. It was one module on a remote computer, and it took a fair bit of investigation to work out which bit on which computer had fallen over. But in the end, there wasn't anything complicated we had to do with the module, just reset it.

One of the technicians joked that that is all we do, just turn things off and on again. While my first instinct is to object and to defend our profession, he does have a point. Usually when something which is supposed to be automated stops working, it is because the information contained within the program has gotten mixed up. It is not like a pump where something like a bearing or seal has physically gotten damaged or broken. So to clean the data up, you usually just need to start again. And to do that you turn it off, get it to forget what it was doing, then turn it on and let it start as normal.

So yes, often the short term fix is to restart it. The bigger challenge is working out why it got stuck in the first place and what do you need to do to avoid it getting stuck in the future.

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