fiber plant management?

Michael Dillon wavetossed at
Sat Feb 6 22:01:42 UTC 2010

On Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 5:38 AM, Martin Hannigan
<martin at> wrote:
> Honestly? A spreadsheet will do it.

Let me translate that into plain English for you.
He said that a "barebones database" will do it and he happens to use a
simple one that he built himself.

Clearly there are scaling issues with his technology choice, but other
than that, his solution is probably the most common one you will find
out there. Most ISPs use a straightforward database (usually a
full-blown relational one) and build their own application around it.
A company that I worked at 10 years ago built a system around a CRM
tool called Vantive. At first glance, CRM tools are not the kind of
thing you would normally choose for tracking circuits and physical
plant. But since this CRM tool allowed customization with VBA, and
since VBA allowed access to full-blown relational databases, we ended
up with a very nice tool that not only tracked circuits, fibres, etc.
but also allowed us to link it all to customers so if there was a
specific fibre route cut, we could immediately get a list of contact
names and numbers for all customers whose services were affected.

My advice is to find out what in-house database skills you have
available, and get them to build a simple records system using Oracle,
PostreSQL,  DB2, SQL Server or similar, and to make sure that they
understand that the intent is to evolve it step by step into a
full-blown system. This last is important so that they think about how
to make a long-term design and make fewer mistakes that need to be
fixed later.

--Michael Dillon

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