RE: Need a word for...

Subject: RE: Need a word for...
From: "Janoff, Steve" <Steve -dot- Janoff -at- Teradata -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 21:41:56 -0500

Another approach is "ghost" or "ghosting" per the very nice picture you
paint of the networked systems and the flaky one keeps going in and out.
One problem is "ghost" has a specific meaning in CS (per Google) --
imaging a machine (or something like that).

Online thesaurus gives "phantom" and "shadow" as potential substitutes
but first is a little fancy and second not quite there.

This is a way of looking at the hobbled appliance, not the behavior of
its connection.

I'm reminded of those scenes we've all seen in countless movies and TV
shows, with a bunch of people gathered in the situation room to watch a
big screen with a bunch of triangles or other shapes representing
planes, satellites, what have you, and they're focused on one in
particular, which keeps fading in and out, and then it's gone -- "We
lost it!" Then some sort of catastrophe ensues. But, never fails, the
hero (heroes, heroine[s]) saves the day and everyone cheers in the end
because the thing goes back online or the planet is saved or whatever.

Try putting something like that in your documentation. It might not
solve the problem but it will punch up the script. :)

Good luck, Kevin (the ship is leaving, I've got to go help destroy the
asteroid that's coming our way:).


-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+steve -dot- janoff=teradata -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+steve -dot- janoff=teradata -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]
On Behalf Of McLauchlan, Kevin
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 2010 6:37 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Need a word for...

Once again, I'm turning to the Techwr-l "reverse-lookup-dictionary" for
a term that I'm pretty sure exists, but which is eluding me at present.

Is there a general, or engineering, term for a condition where something
is dropped/stopped and retries/resumes, but it happens so frequently and
rapidly that it's annoying (or a drag on resources)?

It's not "jitter", but a word of that sort.

It's not a "race condition" - two signals or events 'racing' each other
to determine an outcome... but sorta in the neighborhood.

With that said, here's the situation.

Picture a group of networked devices in a High Availability cluster
configuration. They take part in load balancing, and they synchronize
constantly to back each other up, in the event that one or more fails in
some way. Now imagine they're geographically dispersed. Now imagine that
the internet trunk from one country is flaky. It goes in. It goes out.
It has its good days. It has its bad days. But the result is that the
clustered appliance that lives at the other end of it can sometimes be
dropping out and rejoining a _lot_. Possibly to the point - if that
network segment gets bad enough - that the unit is being dropped out
even faster than it can rejoin (with all the necessary handshaking). So,
perhaps the customers request a settable "rejoin delay", such that the
member can be told to take a breather (of a specified length) before
attempting to rejoin.

What would be a good generic word for the sort of condition where
something is being rapidly/frequently disconnected and keeps dutifully
coming back for more punishment? I imagine there's a common english
word that engineers have co-opted for such a situation - perhaps a
two-word phrase at most. It's not quite at the tip of my tongue - or
my typing fingers. Bugs me no end.


Kevin McLauchlan
Senior Technical Writer
SafeNet, Inc.

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Need a word for...: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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