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NYSE Software Update failure due to failed Test Environment

Management Practice - a lesson to C level management

Are CIO's, CTO's and Directors of IT confident that the correct software updates are applied with the correct configuration and settings to their production systems at all times?


How many companies find themselves in the same position that the New York Stock Exchange NYSE was in, on Thursday 9th July 2015, when a routine software update went horribly wrong, because the incorrect configuration was loaded with the new software update.


The NYSE was shut down for roughly 4 hours, how much was wiped off the exchange per hour, how much did it cost resolve the problem?


Most enterprise organisations globally will probably find themselves in similar position more times than you will think.


So what are the possible causes;


  • Software testing on a platform that the application/system configuration settings is dissimilar to the production system. So testing on a platform with one set of configuration settings and now promoting the same software or application to production which has a different system configuration, environment variables or settings could really be the recipe for disaster.


  • Failure to include the roll out of the application/system configuration settings as an integral aspect of the overall software update exercise.


  • Since the application configuration or environment settings could constitute a million moving parts across the operating system, application, database, middleware, messaging, GUI front end etc, it may simply be impossible to manually capture and identify the differences across these moving parts in development, test and production systems.


Like everything else, the more organised and the more up to date accurate configuration

information on these test or development beds or IT Environments is captured/maintained, the

more information on all the moving parts is captured automatically from tools, scripts then the

less likely that the above scenario will occur.

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