Super Bowl

I was happy to be traveling during the Super Bowl this year. I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Not only was I born in Pittsburgh (don’t bother trying it for my “security” question – I always lie on those), Terry Bradshaw led the Steelers to their first win in Super Bowl 9, which was also my 9th birthday, so I’ve always felt a certain connection with the game.

As everyone, at least in the US, is aware, the Steelers are the greatest dynasty to ever play the game. No one else has ever won six championships and only Dallas has been in the big game as many times (eight).

However, as I am Steelers fan, I harbor a certain distaste for the Baltimore Ravens. Thus I found myself in a weird situation this year. While I like the San Francisco 49ers and even rooted for them when I lived in the area, San Francisco has won five Super Bowls. If they won this year, then they would tie my team.

This could not be allowed to happen.

So found myself pulling for the Ravens to win, and for once they didn’t disappoint. No, what I was focused on during Sunday was not the game or the commercials, but found myself wondering how well the Papa Johns Pizza network was holding up.

The Super Bowl is to Papa Johns what Mother’s Day is to florists. Even though it is a Sunday, almost every employee in the company works and they move a lot of pie. In the past there have been some network hiccups on Super Bowl Sunday, but now so much of their business is booked online that the smallest outage could cost tens of thousands of dollars. Last week I got a nice note from Chris Rodman, the OpenNMS head honcho at Papa Johns:

I’m sitting in a meeting with our call center right now. There is this massive spreadsheet/chart printed up a piece of paper that was printed in 10pt font from a plotter! It outlines EVERY imaginable scenario that could go bad on Super Bowl Sunday from a meteor hitting our data center to a Map Quest outage. And there is a column on this sheet that says how will we know there is an issue. And on almost every single row in that column it says the word “OpenNMS”.

Thus, before I even looked up who won the game, I sent a note to Chris asking how well their day went. His reply:

Purred like a kitten…. #1 day in sales!!!!

OpenNMS did not miss a beat… usual! Nothing, nada. No additional load or headaches on the system. It was a champ all day!

The only reason I posted this is that, even today, I am often asked if “real” companies use open source. Here is a concrete example of a company that uses open source in general (and OpenNMS in particular) to secure a multi-billion dollar business. And it “just works”. If you are spending tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in software licenses you really should ask yourself if it is worth it, and explore the available open source options. You’ll be glad you did.

♫ When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie … ♫