Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.

Sourdough bread and IT lifecycle discipline

2/3/2022 by Patrick Schmidt

By Patrick Schmidt

I’ve been baking sourdough bread for about 15 years. There is something uniquely satisfying about a well-made slice of sourdough bread. The crispy crust, the open crumb with many holes, and the tangy flavor that does not exist in a loaf of Wonder Bread.

Pursuit of perfect home-baked sourdough reached a fever pitch in the middle of 2020 as shelter in place orders left us looking for something productive to do. In addition, supply shortages of flour and yeast to commercial bakeries made self-sufficient bread baking appealing.

So, no yeast, no problem, right? I’ll just whip up a loaf of sourdough! But it’s not that easy – you need a sourdough starter that can take weeks to grow. Many sincerely attempted to nurture a new batch of starter from just flour and water, but lost patience and abandoned the effort.

Others developed a decent starter, but the bread did not taste like the loaves from the local bakery. Still others were satisfied with the loaves but grew tired of the regular care and feeding of the starter to keep it ready for baking.

Home sourdough baking is a process that is part science and part art. Both are wrapped up with a discipline of activities performed at applicable moments. And, yes, information technology lifecycle maintenance has a lot in common with successful sourdough.

Here’s how…

First comes the science.  The type of sourdough you want to bake defines what type of flour, how much water, how much starter, and how much salt goes into the loaf. In the same way, IT asset and application selection begins with the end in mind. Business requirements drive what applications and hardware are selected after some specific decisions.

These days, the first question may be what application will help us achieve our desired business outcomes? No applications should be excluded from this thinking. Your ERP system is critical, but so is a backup and recovery application. Every application from the core of the datacenter to mobile devices, and everything in between, needs to be selected with business outcomes in mind.

Second is the art. Sourdough baking requires the application of the right tools and techniques at the right time. They are not always the same, even under similar conditions. You may have never considered how long to autolyze your flour and water or if lamination will give you the desired loaf. You can check them out online. But let’s get back to IT.

There is an art to deciding how to acquire IT assets. For example, decisions about cloud versus on-premises infrastructure might seem straightforward. However, that rarely seems the case. One application may run well in the cloud while another latency-challenged application seems better suited to the datacenter. Because of this conundrum, many are adopting a hybrid approach with some assets in the cloud, and some in-house.

So, what about that hybrid approach? It’s a balancing act requiring perceptive analysis of all meaningful factors and subsequent adjustments. In many cases the experience of the IT staff will have a “gut feel” based on experience or opinions of subject matter experts they trust. Trusting your gut isn’t science, it’s art.

Finally comes discipline. The amount of discipline it takes to grow and maintain a sourdough starter requires timing disciple, but so does the baking. It takes me an average of 18 hours to make a sourdough loaf with specific tasks performed at specific times. Discipline indeed.

Once IT assets have been selected and installed, maintenance requires discipline to ensure smooth operation. When was the last time you performed an analysis of your assets and their associated contracts? If you had to think about it, it has probably been a while.

We know there are many other obligations that could get in the way of effective IT lifecycle discipline, but regular, scheduled reviews are critical. They will ensure you are only paying for assets in productive use and preventing a midnight crisis by ensuring critical systems are covered.

From time to time, we all need some assistance and direction. I can’t even count the number of times I ended up with a dough that was too sticky, a loaf that wouldn’t rise, or burnt bread. Leaning on resources I trusted, I am now able to consistently produce the sourdough I wanted.

Likewise, LRS can help with your asset management. The LRS Technology Lifecycle Management Review process can help you add discipline to an otherwise inconsistent process. We collaborate with you to analyze your inventory and its coverages and produce an optimized support program with regular checkpoints. We can save you time, money, and give you peace of mind.

To find out more, fill out the form below and we will be in touch. And, maybe, there will be some sourdough tips along the way!

About the author

Patrick Schmidt is a Technology Lifecycle Management Specialist with LRS IT Solutions. For more than 23 years, he has been helping customers get a firm grasp on their asset and contract management with a combination of comprehensive service level analysis and lifecycle management best practices.