Had an interesting chat with a CIO the other day. He’s been pushed to provide documentation in the field to meet regulatory requirements. This documentation needs to exist separately from the primary systems that the folk in the field use to do their jobs. I expect the regulation is intend to provide some sort of disaster recovery – the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, but at least you have the redundant documentation to work from.
As with a lot of regulation, it’s there for hysterical raisins rather then good reason, having out-lived it’s usefulness, and is now zealously enforced. Since the existing, primary documentation is delivered as part of the desktop/laptop SOE, this would mean providing the team with a second laptop to support the redundant documentation. I suppose there’s some logic in that.
The solution his team came up with is just brilliant. They found a cheap/free/cost-effective VM player and created a VM with the documentation and appropriate reading software in it. The VM image was then loaded onto a USB stick (even 16G sticks are pretty affordable now). Plug the USB stick into a PC (not sure if they got it working on a Mac) and you’re soon up and running, reading important documentation while the world burns around you. For bonus points, the team created the image with the VM hibernated, so it’s up and running in more-or-less an instant as you only need to wait for the hibernated image to restart.
Meeting the hysterical documentation requirements are now a breeze. Simply mail out new VM images on a USB stick. Put them on a nice lanyard and you might even get marketing to pay for it. Staff sign for the new stick, and drop the old one in a envelope to mail back for recycling.