Posts tagged ‘sysadmin’


Gratitude Journal 20110224

I am thankful for or that

  1. Marshall attending the Worm Catcher’s Group.
  2. LEB cooking dinner.
  3. LEB bringing MJB home from the after school program early.
  4. A beautiful, sunny day.
  5. Mr. GH helping with our insurance claim for the roof.
  6. Being granted the claim, we’re getting a ROOF!
  7. Money to buy some doughnuts for the Worm Catcher’s Group meeting.
  8. Gas to drive around town as needed.
  9. LEB doing some grocery shopping.
  10. Money to buy my prescriptions.

I acknowledge myself for

  1. Doing laundry.
  2. Working with Mr. GH on the claim for our roof.
  3. Helping GAB with her log in to NC A&T computer systems.
  4. Washing dishes.
  5. Taking action on the Verizon bill and upgrading the plan.
  6. Realizing the kids could have 75MB data plans for the same price as 10MB plans.
  7. Connecting my new manager from hW to the people he needed information from on the lN side.
  8. Keeping this journal.
  9. Picking up GAB from track practice on time!
  10. Checking with MJB to make sure his homework was done.

Gratitude Journal 20110223

I am thankful for or that

  1. My company pays for Oracle hardware and software support.
  2. Finding a kindred spirit on the hW side of the house.
  3. The opportunity to make change in the W environment.
  4. SharePoint wiki as it is much better than DocuShare.
  5. A beautiful, sunny, cool day.
  6. My friend CAW.
  7. Having prescription medical coverage via Express-Scripts.
  8. Leftovers for lunch and dinner.
  9. Money to buy breakfast.
  10. The public library.

I acknowledge myself for

  1. Creating documentation in the soon to be deprecated wiki.
  2. Raising the question of creating a team wiki for the hW side.
  3. Taking CIB to the library.
  4. Performing several therapies on my back.
  5. Working diligently to solve problems on the job.
  6. Helping people who asked me for help.
  7. Eating paleo style nearly all day.
  8. Taking care of problems w/ my prescriptions.
  9. Keeping in touch with GH about the roof replacement.
  10. Reading 10 pages each of The Way of Zen and Why I’m Not a Christian.

Gratitude Journal 20101126

I am thankful for or that

  1. Rain.
  2. A parking spot close to the office on a cool, rainy morning.
  3. My unlimited text plan from Verizon.
  4. LEB’s reawakened hotness.
  5. Being able to go back to sleep after taking GAB to work.
  6. Money to buy food.
  7. The ability to walk.
  8. All of the technical documentation available on the web, particularly for NetApps.
  9. A warm, dry house on a cold, damp night.
  10. LEB picking up GAB from work.

I acknowledge myself for

  1. Doing laundry.
  2. Fulfilling my on call responsibilities for work.
  3. Eating leftovers.
  4. Taking several short walks through out the day.
  5. Taking my prescriptions.
  6. Putting off impulse purchases.
  7. Turning off the Alabama vs Auburn football game and going to an AA meeting.
  8. Sharing during the meeting.
  9. Doing personal development reading.
  10. Going to bed early.

Gratitude Journal 20101119

I am thankful for or that

  1. The Ubuntu Linux distribution.
  2. The human brain, particularly mine!
  3. Free and open source software.
  4. All the food colleagues brought to work to share yesterday.
  5. Sunshine.
  6. My Android phone.
  7. GAB washing dishes.
  8. Medicine for CIB and MJB.
  9. Books and audio books from the library.
  10. Our house.

I acknowledge myself for

  1. Doing my morning routine of chores.
  2. Doing my work morning routine.
  3. Helping colleagues at work.
  4. Taking walks through out the day.
  5. Practicing the Pomodoro Technique.
  6. Reading rather than watching TV.
  7. Taking the trash & recycle out to the street.
  8. Completing my benefits enrollment.
  9. Allowing GAB to use the car.
  10. Picking up MJB from school.

Gratitude Journal 20101112

I am thankful for or that

  1. LEB inviting me to lunch.
  2. Money to buy gas.
  3. GAB getting home safely.
  4. A beautiful autumn day.
  5. Cyanogen Mod for the Droid.
  6. GAB cooking dinner.
  7. A warm house.
  8. My Motorola Droid.
  9. Linux.
  10. All of the various Google apps.

I acknowledge myself for

  1. Going to lunch with LEB.
  2. Leaving work early.
  3. Picking up MJB from the afterschool program.
  4. Doing laundry.
  5. Going to sleep early.
  6. Taking short walks throughout the day.
  7. Keeping this journal.
  8. Waking the kids up for school.
  9. Running the dishwasher.
  10. Brushing me teeth before bed.

Gratitude Journal 20101111

I am thankful for or that

  1. Having money to go to lunch w/ some colleagues.
  2. Time away from the office for lunch.
  3. A beautiful autumn day.
  4. Gas to drive around town as needed.
  5. LEB drying a couple loads of clothes.
  6. A warm house on a cool evening.
  7. The fan in our bedroom.
  8. Hot water for showers.
  9. Clean water to drink.
  10. Leftovers for dinner.

I acknowledge myself for

  1. Handling lots of incoming tasks at work.
  2. Going to lunch with colleagues.
  3. Picking up GAB from track practice.
  4. Picking up MJB from after school program.
  5. Keeping this journal.
  6. Writing a list of tasks for the day.
  7. Locking the car doors at night.
  8. Going to bed early.
  9. Running the dishwasher.
  10. Doing laundry.

Gratitude Journal 20101108

I am thankful for or that

  1. The oldest of my younger brothers, Dreck, who was born on November 8.
  2. Dreck has been able to survive Lymphoma.
  3. A beautiful autumn day.
  4. Being able to walk.
  5. The Greenville Public Library.
  6. Coffee.
  7. Gas to drive around town as needed.
  8. LEB getting dinner together.
  9. National Public Radio.
  10. Seeing my former coworker, DLowry.

I acknowledge myself for

  1. Working diligently on numerous tasks on the job.
  2. Helping one of the DBAs understand our MySql infrastructure which we will be turning over to their care.
  3. Solving the ldap/tacacs problem.
  4. Tracking down latency issues, which caused number 3, on the Netapp to a particularly troublesome application volume.
  5. Doing laundry.
  6. Eating dinner w/ LEB.
  7. Reading.
  8. Listening to personal development material in the car.
  9. Picking up GAB from track practice.
  10. Walking two miles.

Agile Systems Administration

I found the following on /.

To me the word “agile” in programming has come to mean “a renaissance of best practices”. In other words, an excellent programmer is already agile, but a mearly”good” programmer might benefit from having it spelled out.

But by giving it this new name, there’s a risk of backlash. I guess that’s happened already, judging by the utterly vapid responses to this post!

To me, agile means the following things:

* don’t do work until you need to

* do everything in the simplest way you can

* write tests for everything

* make your work relocatable and reusable

* use version control

* communicate with customers

* release your work to the customer as rapidly as practical

Now, I happen to wear both a sysadmin and a programmer hat depending on the time of day. Mostly sysadmin, but since discovering this philosophy of programming, I’ve started doing more coding. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to have 100% code test coverage with everything tucked away in version control, with single-command deployment and distribution to client machines. They never taught me this stuff in school.

So, if you’re a syadmin, and you’re not as cynical as the other slashdotters here today, can you see anything in that list that might help you?

Here’s some things I do as a sysadmin:

* use version control for /etc configs (if you’re using dispatch-conf + RCS on your gentoo box, you’re doing this already .. just start checking YOUR changes in the RCS files too.. this saves my butt at least once a week)

* practice “test-first sysadmin” .. does your machine need a certain config? Write a script that verifies that the config is present. Run it, it will fail. Fix the config, run it again, watch it succeed. Now put the script in cron and forget about it (you might want to build a framework for this if you have a lot of these little scripts puttering around). This too has saved my butt: I have scripts that make sure ports are CLOSED on certain machines.. when the firewall config was accidentally erased I detected it right away.

* do everything in as simple a way as possible: for your next script, use environment variables and the presence/absence of files in a directory to configure it, instead of inventing Yet Another Config File format .. your scripts will be shorter and more robust. Use programs like djb’s daemontools to run daemons, instead of this bizarre thing where they put themselves in the background and you need all this scaffolding to track them down to start/stop/watchdog (wtf is up with that anyway).

Use the filesystem instead of MySQL .. use publicfile instead of Apache .. etc.. just do the simplest thing that can work.

Don’t ever install things by hand. Build a custom package. If your OS doesn’t let you do this easily, switch to one that does (gentoo rocks for this as well).

* document everything: when you do something, make a note of it on a wiki or a text file. Give the other sysadmins access and chide them when they don’t keep the file up to date. lead by example.

* automate: don’t do anything 3 times. anything you do a third time, automate it. (you will appreciate the simplicity of using the filesystem as your config file when you do this, by the way). need to watch something on a box? create an rss feed. you don’t need a web server, just build the rss feed and scp it from your laptop every hour. do whatever it takes for you to work as little as possible yet meet your goals.

Yeah, you probably do a lot of this already, but you’d never think of calling it “agile” or anything else other than “a good job”. Fine, whatever. Agile is more of a mindset than anything else, based around simplicity and being ready for change.

See Also:


Gratitude Journal 20101029

I am thankful for or that

  1. A quiet day at work.
  2. Some information about the future of my job.
  3. A beautiful autumn day.
  4. Money to buy food.
  5. Gas to drive around town for work and errands.
  6. Our vehicles.
  7. GAB driving home safely after visiting a friend.
  8. Our house.
  9. Heat on a chilly autumn night.
  10. Electricity.

I acknowledge myself for

  1. Remembering to pick up coffee at the grocery store on 20101028.
  2. Making coffee.
  3. Taking the family out to dinner at Fried Green Tomatoes.
  4. Going to sleep early.
  5. Watching minimal TV.
  6. Listening to an audio book while driving.
  7. Reading.
  8. Being helpful at work.
  9. Sending an email to let the team know I would be late getting into the office.
  10. Rescheduling appointments so I can go to a special lunch w/ LEB next week.

Gratitude Journal 20101023

I am thankful for or that

  1. Another beautiful autumn day.
  2. LEB taking me to pick up the car from GAB’s place of work.
  3. Our working washer & dryer.
  4. A warm bed on a cool night.
  5. LEB taking the boys to the Furman Univ. football game while I stayed home since I am on call.
  6. Lounge Radio.
  7. High speed internet.
  8. Citrix.
  9. GAB coming home safely from a costume party.
  10. Car problem was only a loose connection to the battery.

I acknowledge myself for

  1. Doing lots of laundry.
  2. Washing dishes.
  3. Going to help GAB with a car problem.
  4. Figuring out the car problem.
  5. Keeping this journal.
  6. Getting a little exercise.
  7. Taking my prescriptions.
  8. Doing my personal development reading.
  9. Listening to audio books in the car.
  10. Sitting in the sun.