WARNING!!! Maximum Load 800 lbs

Posted in: Technical Track

Is it just my recently discovered dumbness or am I really on to something here? I just returned home from a ritzy shopping mall and had to ride down an elevator with a brimming shopping trolly filled with items which my companion miraculously managed to buy from every sale from every corner of that mall. Anyway before I recall that shopping bill and weep copiously, I just wanted to share something which always bugs me when I use elevators.

Inside the elevators, there are only two things to do. Either stare at the faces of other riders and enjoy the embarrassment of shifting eyes from face to face or the other option is to look onto the walls. Like others, I always select the latter option. One thing which every elevator says to me is something like ‘Maximum Load 800 lbs’ or any other number.

Now that not only baffles me but also creates a passive panic. I quickly calculate my weight, then frantically and stealthily glance at other bodies inside and then guess the total weight in there. More often than not, it turns out that the weight of bodies plus their heavyset trollies exceed or teeter on the edge of the warning lbs.

On this very moment, the other elevator hobbits notice my ashen face, violently trembling body, sunken eyes and follow them to the warning. Some get the point and follow the ritual of getting panicked, some try to recall emergency ambulance number after watching us, and some just don’t give the flying heck.

My question here is why on Earth they write it inside the elevator when its too late to do anything about it. Do they really write it seriously or they have just assumed that never that weight would be reached? I personally know a group of people including me who for sure can easily break that weight record. They all live nearby and use the same shopping center and elevator of course. There is every chance that one day they all will come on same time and use that elevator. What happens then? Or I am just paranoid beyond cure? May be if elevator guys would write it outside it, and place a weighing machine on entry of elevator. The machine would calculate the weight as people would move in, and will close its door as soon as it reaches near it.

Interestingly enough, I have seen databases being used as elevators by the applications and data loaders. Applications and data loading without any consideration of design, scalability or performance or capacity management just throng the database. Unlike elevators, I have seen databases break down or coming to grinding halt due to runaway or in other words over-weight applications.

That panics me in the same way as elevators do.



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About the Author

I have been in love with Oracle blogging since 2007. This blogging, coupled with extensive participation in Oracle forums, plus Oracle related speaking engagements, various Oracle certifications, teaching, and working in the trenches with Oracle technologies has enabled me to receive the Oracle ACE award. I was the first ever Pakistani to get that award. From Oracle Open World SF to Foresight 20:20 Perth. I have been expressing my love for Exadata. For the last few years, I am loving the data at Pythian, and proudly writing their log buffer carnivals.

2 Comments. Leave new

Don’t worry Fahd, as I have an Engineering background (in my distant past) I know there’s a factor of safety in all of those ratings. Possibly of up to 50%! So the elevator probably could take up to 1200 lbs ;-)

And I don’t know about your part of the world but here in Western Canada, most elevators now have display screens (like TVs) in them displaying news headlines, stock quotes, things like that. So that gives you “option #3” of what to do. At least corporate office building elevators do. In a shopping mall it’s less likely I guess :)


If the database is build with the same fault tolerance as an elevator you’d be fine. the problem is really that the data base is build for an optimum and a max, but everyone is looking at that max number and wondering why they don’t get optimum life and performance out of it. I see it all the time, I don’t panic anymore, I try to quietly shore up the database where I can. I make sure I put out the amber warning lights too, but when most IT departments are critically under staffed no one notices the lights till the fall down the shaft.

the best we can do is over build every chance we get, telling everyone that the optimum performance numbers are the max… that way when they reach max, we can still run strong but show the degradation and have a set the precedent that we need more resources to push passed the max.


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